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Full text of "Life of William Blake, with selections from his poems and other writings. A new and enl. ed. Illustrated from Blake's own works, with additional letters and a memoir of the author"

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T. Phillips 













The 1\i%hi of Translation is Reserved 


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SONG. My silks and fine array 3 

SONG. Love and harmony combine >'. 4 

SONG. I love the jocund dance 5 

MAD SONG. The wild winds weep . . ' ^ ,,,,.*"/ 6 

SONG. How sweet I roamed from field to field 7 

SONG. Memory, hither come .%.*. 8 

To THE MUSES. Whether on Ida's shady brow 9 

To THE EVENING STAR. Thou fair- haired angel of the Evening ... 10 

To SPRING. O thou, with dewy locks, luho lookest down II 

To SUMMER. thoii ivho passest thrrf our valleys in 12 

BLIND-MAN'S BUFF. When silver snow decks Susan's clothes 13 

KING EDWARD THE THIRD (Selections from) ,- .. ....... 16 



INTRODUCTION. Piping down the valleys wild . . . . "..'. V_. 29 

THE SHEPHERD. How sweet is the shepherd's sweet lot . . vSj . *&$'. 30 



THE ECHOING GREEN. The sun does arise 3 1 

THE LAMB. Little lamb, who made thee ? 3 2 

THE LITTLE BLACK BOY. My mother bore me in the southern wild . . 33 

THE BLOSSOM. Merry, merry sparrow / 34 

THE CHIMNEY-SWEEPER. When my mother died I was very young . . 35 

THE LITTLE BOY LOST. Father, father, where are you going? .... 36 

THE LITTLE BOY FOUND. The little boy lost in the lonely fen .... '36 

LAUGHING SONG. When the green woods laugh with the voice of joy . . 37 

A CRADLE SONG. Sweet dreams form a shade 3& 

THE DIVINE IMAGE. To mercy, pity, peace, and love 4 

HOLY THURSDAY. 'Twas on a Holy Thursday, their innocent faces clean . 41 

NIGHT. The Sun descending in the West 42 

SPRING. Sound the flute ! 44 

NURSE'S SONG. When the voices of children are heard on the green ... 45 

INFANT JOY. I have no name 46 

A DREAM. Once a dream did weave a shade 47 

ON ANOTHER'S SORROW. Can 1 see another 's woe 48 

THE VOICE OF THE ANCIENT BARD. Youth of delight ! come hither . . 50 


INTRODUCTION. Hear the voice of the bard 51 

EARTH'S ANSWER. Earth raised up her head 52 

THE CLOD AND THE PEBBLE. Love seeketh not itself to please .... 53 

HOLY THURSDAY. Is this a holy thing to see 54 

THE LITTLE GIRL LOST. In futurity 55 

THE LITTLE' GIRL FOUND. All the night in woe 57 

THE CHIMNEY SWEEPER. A little black thing among the snow .... 59 

THE SICK ROSE. O Rose, thou art sick ! 60 

NURSE'S SONG. When the voices of children are heard on the green ... 60 

THE FLY. Little Fly 6j 

THE ANGEL. I dreamt a dream I What can it mean ? 62 

THE TIGER. Tiger, tiger, burning bright . . . . *.',V,,\. .... 63 

MY PRETTY ROSE TREE. A flower was offered to me . . '..> /:-V- . 64 



AH! SUNFLOWER. Ah! Sunflower! weary of time 64 

THE LILY. The modest rose puts forth a thorn 65 

THE GARDEN OF LOVE. I laid me down upon a bank 65 

THE LITTLE VAGABOND. Dear mother, dear mother, the church is cold . 66 

LONDON. / wander through each chartered street 67 

THE HUMAN ABSTRACT. Pity would be no more 68 

INFANT SORROW. My mother groaned, my father wept 69 

CHRISTIAN FORBEARANCE. 1 'was angry with my friend 69 

A LITTLE BOY LOST. Nought loves another as itself 70 

A LITTLE GIRL LOST. Children of the future age 71 

A CRADLE SONG. Sleep, sleep, beauty bright 73 

THE SCHOOLBOY. / love Jo rise on a summer morn 74 

To TIRZAH. Whatever is born of mortal birth 76 

THE BOOK OF THEL . x ...... 77 


INTRODUCTORY NOTE ..... ,,.,.,.. . . 85 

THE BIRDS. Where thou dwellest, in what grove . . ._.'.' **-.* 4 - $9 

BROKEN LOVE. My spectre around me night and day ',,.. . . . . 90 

THE Two SONGS. I heard an angel singing ...... 93 

THE DEFILED SANCTUARY. I saw a chapel all of gold 94 

CUPID. Why ivas Cupid a boy? 95 

THE WOMAN TAKEN IN ADULTERY. The vision of Christ that thou dost see 96 

LOVE'S SECRET. Never seek to tell thy love 98 

THE WILD FLOWER'S SONG. As 1 wandered in the forest 99 

THE CRYSTAL CABINET. The maiden caught me in the wild 100 

SMILE AND FROWN. There is a smile of love . ^ ,. 102 

THE GOLDEN NET. Beneath a white thorrfs lovely May 103 

THE LAND OF DREAMS. Awake, awake, my little boy 104 

MARY. Sweet Mary, the first time she ever was there . 105 

AUGURIES OF INNOCENCE. To see a world in a grain of sand .... 107 

THE MENTAL TRAVELLER. I travelled through a land of men 112 

IN A MYRTLE SHADE. To a lovely myrtle bound 118 

WILLIAM BOND. I wonder whether the girls arc mad . 119 



SCOFFERS. Mock on , mock on, Voltaire, Rousseau . . . '< ; ; . . . 121 

THE AGONY OF FAITH. " f see, I see," the mother said 123 

DAYBREAK. To find the western path ^ " . .-' r .*'v. : v'- . 124 

THAMES AND OHIO. Why should I care for the men of Thames ? . . . 124 

YOUNG LOVE. Are not the joys of morning sweeter . 125 

RICHES. Since all the riches of this world . . 125 

OPPORTUNITY. He who bends to himself a joy 126 

SEED SOWING. Thou hast a lapftd of seed 126 

BARREN BLOSSOM. I feared the fury of my wind 127 

NIGHT AND DAY. Silent, silent night 127 

LOVE AND DECEIT. Love to faults is ahvays blind . 128 


















INTRODUCTORY NOTE \- -. . . . . . 205 




Section a. DATED WORKS 207 

Section b. UNDATED WORKS, Biblical and Sacred . . . . 235 

Ditto Ditto Poetic and Miscellaneous . . . 245 


Section a. DATED WORKS 255 

Section b. UNDATED WORKS. Biblical and Sacred 264 

Ditto Ditto Poetic and Miscellaneous .... 267 


Biblical and Sacred 275 

Poetic and Miscellaneous 275 

Items from the Sale Catalogues of Mr. George Smith 276 

Items from the Catalogue of an Exhibition of Blake's Works in 

the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, U.S. A 276 



Works designed as well as engraved by Blake 279 

Works engraved, but not designed by Blake 281 

Works designed, but not engraved by Blake 283 











I give you the end of a golden string : 

Only wind it into a ball, 
It will lead you in at Heaven's gate, (p 

Built in Jerusalem wall. i L^ {J/ 

,' n 


[PRINTED IN 1783. WRITTEN 1768 77. /ET. n 20.] 

THERE is no need for many further critical remarks on these 
selections from the Poetical Sketches, which have already been 
spoken of in Chap. VI. of the Life. Among the lyrical pieces here 
chosen, it would be difficult to award a distinct preference. These 
Songs are certainly among the small class of modern times which 
recall the best period of English song writing, whose rarest treasures 
lie scattered among the plays of our Elizabethan dramatists. They 
deserve no less than very high admiration in a quite positive sense, 
which cannot be even qualified by the slight, hasty, or juvenile imper- 
fections of execution to be met with in some of them, though by no 
means in all. On the other hand, if we view them comparatively ; 
in relation to Blake's youth when he wrote them, or the poetic epoch 
in which they were produced ; it would be hardly possible to over- 
rate their astonishing merit. The same return to the diction and 
high feeling of a greater age is to be found in the unfinished play of 
Edward the Third, from which some fragments are included here. 
In the original edition, however, these are marred by frequent imper- 
fections in the metre (partly real and partly dependent on careless 
printing), which I have thought it best to remove, as I found it 
possible to do so without once, in the slightest degree, affecting the 
originality of the text. The same has been done in a few similar 
instances elsewhere. The poem of Blind- man's Buff stands in 
curious contrast with the rest, as an effort in another manner and, 
though less excellent, is not without interest. Besides what is here 
given, there are attempts in the very modern-antique style of ballad 
prevalent at the time, and in Ossianic prose, but all naturally very 
inferior, and probably earlier. It is singular that, for formed style 
and purely literary qualities, Blake, perhaps, never afterwards equalled 
the best things in this youthful volume, though he often did so in 
melody and feeling, and more than did so in depth of thought. 




MY silks and fine array, 

My smiles and languished air, 

By love are driven away. 
And mournful lean Despair 

Brings me yew to deck my grave : 

Such end true lovers have. 

His face is fair as heaven 
When springing buds unfold; 

Oh, why to him was't given, 
Whose heart is wintry cold ? 

His breast is Love's all-worshipped tomb 

Where all Love's pilgrims come. 

Bring me an axe and spade, 

Bring me a winding-sheet ; 
When I my grave have made, 

Let winds and tempests beat: 
Then down I'll lie, as cold as clay. 
True love doth pass away ! 

B 2 



LOVE and harmony combine 
And around our souls entwine. 
While thy branches mix with mine 
And our roots together join. 

Joys upon our branches sit, 
Chirping loud and singing sweet ; 
Like gentle streams beneath our feet, 
Innocence and virtue meet. 

Thou the golden fruit dost bear, 
I am clad in flowers fair; 
Thy sweet boughs perfume the air, 
And the turtle buildeth there. 

There she sits and feeds her young ; 
Sweet I hear her mournful song : 
And thy lovely leaves among, 
There is Love : I hear his tongue. 

There his charm'd nest he doth lay, 
There he sleeps the night away, 
There he sports along the day, 
And doth among our branches play. 



I LOVE the jocund dance, 
The softly-breathing song, 

Where innocent eyes do glance, 
Where lisps the maiden's tongue. 

I love the laughing vale, 

I love the echoing hill, 
Where mirth does never fail, 

And the jolly swain laughs his fill, 

I love the pleasant cot, 
I love the innocent bower, 

Where white and brown is our lot, 
Or fruit in the mid-day hour. 

I love the oaken seat 

Beneath the oaken tree, 
Where all the old villagers meet, 

And laugh our sports to see. 

I love our neighbours all, 

But, Kitty, I better love thee : 

And love them I ever shall, 
But thou art all to me. 



THE wild winds weep, 
And the night is- a-cold ; 

Come hither, Sleep, 
And my griefs unfold ! 

But lo ! the Morning peeps 

Over the eastern steeps, 

And rustling birds of dawn 

The earth do scorn. 

Lo ! to the vault 

Of paved heaven, 
With sorrow fraught, 

My notes are driven : 
They strike the ear of night, 

Make weep the eyes of day ; 
They make mad the roaring winds, 

And with tempests play. 

Like a fiend in a cloud, 

With howling woe 
After night I do crowd, 

And with night will go ; 
I turn my back to the East 
Whence comforts have increas'd; 
For light doth seize' my brain 
With frantic pain. 



How sweet I roamed from field to field, 
And tasted all the summer's pride, 

Till I the Prince of Love beheld, 
Who in the sunny beams did glide! 

He show'd me lilies for my hair, 
And blushing roses for my brow ; \ 

He led me through his gardens fair, 
Where all his golden pleasures grow. 

With sweet May dews my wings were wet, 
And Phoebus fired my vocal rage ; 

He caught me in his silken net, 
And shut me in his golden cage. 

He loves to sit and hear me sing, 
Then, laughing, sports and, plays with me; 

Then stretches out my golden wing, 
And mocks my loss of liberty. 



MEMORY, hither come, 

And tune your merry notes ; 
And, while upon the wind 

Your music floats, 
I'll pore upon the stream 
Where sighing lovers dream, 
And fish for fancies as they pass 
Within the watery glass. 

I'll drink of the clear stream, 
And hear the linnet's song; 

And there Til lie and dream 
The day along : 

And, when night comes, I'll go 

To places fit for woe; 

Walking along the darkened valley 

With silent Melancholy. 



WHETHER on Ida's shady brow, 
Qr in the chambers of the East, 

The chambers of the sun that now 
From ancient melody have ceased ; 

Whether in Heaven ye wander fair, 
Or the grden corners of the earth, 

Or the blue regions of the air, 

Where the melodious winds have birth ; 

Whether on crystal rocks ye rove ' 
Beneath the bosom of the sea, 

Wandering in many a coral grove ; 
Fair Nine, . forsaking Poetry ; 

How have you left the ancient love 
That bards of old enjoy'd in you! 

The languid strings do scarcely move, 
The sound is forced, the notes are few. 



THOU fair-hair'd angel of the Evening, 

Now, whilst the sun rests on the mountains, light 

Thy brilliant torch of love; thy radiant crown 

Put on, and smile upon our evening bed ! 

Smile on our loves ; and whilst thou drawest round 

The curtains of the sky, scatter thy dew 

On every flower that closes its sweet eyes 

In timely sleep. Let thy west wind sleep on 

The lake ; speak silence with thy glimmering eyes, 

And wash the dusk with silver. Soon, full soon 

Dost thou withdraw j then the wolf rages wide, 

And then the lion glares through the dun forest. 

The fleeces of our flocks are covered with 

Thy sacred dew : protect them with thine influence. 


I I 


ni.;.*v. r ,kV '</;flj tei*pq ori* I JiT ' 

O THOU, with dewy locks, who lookest down 
Thro' the clear windows of the morning, turn 
Thine angel eyes upon our western isle, 
Which in full choir hails thy approach, O Spring ! 

The hills do tell each other, and the listening 
Valleys hear ; all our longing eyes are turned 
Up to thy bright pavilion : issue forth, 
And let thy holy feet visit our clime ! 

Come o'er the eastern hills, and let our winds 
Kiss thy perfumed garments ; let us taste 
Thy morn and evening breath ; scatter thy pearls 
Upon our love-sick land that mourns for thee. 

O deck her forth with thy fair fingers ; pour 
Thy softest kisses on her bosom, and put 
Thy golden crown upon her languish'd head 
Whose modest tresses were bound up for thee. 



O THOU who passest thro' our valleys in 

Thy strength, curb thy fierce steeds, allay the heat 

That flames from their large nostrils ! Thou, O Summer ! 

Oft pitched'st here thy golden tent, and oft 

Beneath our oaks hast slept, while we beheld 

With joy thy ruddy limbs and flourishing hair. 

Beneath our thickest shades we oft have heard 

Thy voice, when Noon upon his fervid car 

Rode o'er the deep of heaven. Beside our springs 

Sit down, and in our mossy valleys; on 

Some bank beside a river clear, throw all 

Thy draperies off, and rush into the stream ! 

Our valleys love the Summer in his pride. 

Our bards are famed who strike the silver wire ; 
Our youths are bolder than the southern swains; 
Our maidens fairer in the sprightly dance ; 
We lack not songs, nor instruments of joy, 
Nor echoes sweet, nor waters clear as heaven, 
Nor laurel-wreaths against the sultry heat. 



WHEN silver snow decks Susan's clothes, 
And jewel hangs at th' shepherd's nose, 
The blushing bank is all my care, 
With hearth so red and walls so fair ; 
1 Heap the sea-coal, come, heap it higher, 
'The oaken log lay on the fire.' 
The well-washed stools, a circling row, 
With lad and lass, how fair the show! 
The merry can of nut-brown ale, 
The laughing jest, the love-sick tale : 
'Till, tired of chat, the game begins, 
The lasses prick the lads with pins ; 
Roger from Dolly twitched the stool, 
She falling, kissed the ground, poor fool ! 
She blushed so red, with side-long glance 
At hob-nail Dick who grieved the chance. 
But now for Blind-man's Buff they call ; 
Of each incumbrance clear the hall ! 

Jenny her silken 'kerchief folds, 
And blear-eyed Will the black lot holds ; 
Now, laughing, stops, with ' Silence ! hush ! ' 
And Peggy Pout gives Sam a push. 
The Blind-man's arms, extended wide, 
Sam slips between ; O woe betide 
Thee, clumsy Will ! but tittering Kate 


Is penned up in the corner strait ! 

And now Will's eyes beheld the play, 

He thought his face was t'other way. 

Now, Kitty, now ! what chance hast thou ! 

Roger so near thee trips ! I vow 

She catches him ! then Roger ties 

His own head up, but not his eyes ; 

For thro' the slender doth he sees, 

And runs at Sam, who slips with ease 

His clumsy hold ; and, dodging round, 

Sukey is tumbled on the ground ! 

See what it is to play unfair ! 

Where cheating is, there's mischief there. 

But Roger still pursues the chase, 

' He sees ! he sees ! ' cries softly Grace. 

O Roger, thou, unskilled in art, 

Must, surer bound, go through thy part ! 

Now Kitty, pert, repeats the rhymes, 
And Roger turns him round three times ; 
Then pauses ere he starts But Dick 
Was mischief-bent upon a trick : 
Down on his hands and knees he lay, 
Directly in the Blind-man's way 
Then cries out, c Hem ! ' Hodge heard and ran 
With hood-winked chance sure of his man ; 
But down he came. Alas, how frail 
Our best of hopes, how soon they fail ! 
With crimson drops he stains the ground, 
Confusion startles all around ! 
Poor piteous Dick supports his head, 
And fain would cure the hurt he made ; 
But Kitty hastens with a key, 
And down his back they straight convey 
The cold relief; the blood is stay'd, 
And Hodge again holds up his head. 


Such are the fortunes of the game ; 

And those who play should stop the same 

By wholesome laws : such as, all those 

Who on the blinded man impose 

Stand in his stead. So, long a-gone, 

When men were first a nation grown, 

Lawless they lived, till wantonness 

And liberty began to increase, 

And one man lay in another's way: 

Then laws were made to keep fair play. 




SCENE I. The coast of France : KING EDWARD and 
Nobles before it; the Army. 

King Our names are written equal 

In Fame's wide-trophied halls; 'tis ours to gild 
The letters, and to make them shine with gold 
That never tarnishes : whether Third Edward, 
Or Prince of Wales or Montacute or Mortimer, 
Or e'en the least by birth, gain brightest fame, 
Is in His hand to whom all men are equal. 
The world of men is like the numerous stars 
That beam and twinkle in the depth of night, 
Each clad in glory according to his sphere : 
But we that wander from our native seats, \ 
And beam forth lustre on a darkling world, 
Grow larger as we advance ; and some, perhaps 
The most obscure at home, that scarce were seen 
To twinkle in their sphere, may so advance 
That the astonish'd world, with upturn 'd eyes, 
Regardless of the moon and those once bright, 
Stand only but to gaze upon their splendour. 

[He here knights the Prince and other young Nobles. 
Now let us take a just revenge for those 
Brave lords who fell beneath the bloody axe 


At Paris. Noble Harcourt, thanks, for 'twas 

By your advice we landed here in Brittany, 

A country not as yet sown with destruction, 

And where the fiery whirlwind of swift war 

Hath not yet swept its desolating wing. 

Into three parties we divide by day, 

And separate march, but join again at night : 

Each knows his rank, and Heaven marshals all. -{Exeunt. 


King.- What can Sir Thomas Dagworth 
Request that Edward can refuse ? 

Dagw. I hope 

Your majesty cannot refuse so mere 
A trifle : I've gilt your cause with my best blood, 
And would again, were I not now forbid 
By him whom I am bound to obey. My hands 
Are tied up, all my courage shrunk and wither'd, 
My sinews slacken'd, and my voice scarce heard : 
Therefore I beg I may return to England. 

King. I know not what you could have ask'd, Sir Thomas, 
That I would not have sooner parted with 
Than such a soldier as you, and such a friend ; 
Nay, I will know the most remote particulars 
Of this your strange petition, that if I can 
I still may keep you here. 

Dagw. Here on the fields of Cressy we are settled, 
'Till Philip spring the timorous covey again. 
The wolf is hunted down by causeless fear ; 
The lion flees, and fear usurps his heart, 
Startled, astonish'd at the clamorous cock. 



The eagle that doth gaze upon the sun 
Fears the small fire that plays about the fen ; 
If at this moment of their idle fear 
The dog seize the wolf, the forester the lion, 
The negro, in the crevice of the rock, 
Seize on the soaring eagle, undone by flight 
They tame submit such the effect flight has 
On noble souls. Now hear its opposite : 
The timorous stag starts from the thicket wild, 
The fearful crane springs from the plashy fen, 
The shining snake glides o'er the bending grass : 
The stag turns head, and bays the crying hounds, 
The crane o'ertaken fighteth with the hawk, 
The snake doth turn and bite the padding foot. 
And if your majesty's afraid of Philip, 
You are more like a lion than a crane : 
Therefore I beg I may return to England. 

King. Sir Thomas, now I understand your mirth, 
Which often plays with wisdom for its pastime, 
And brings good counsel from the breast of laughter. 
I hope you'll stay, and see us fight this battle, 
And reap rich harvest in the field of Cressy, 
Then go to England, tell them how we fight, 
And set all hearts on fire to be with us. 
Philip is plum'd, and thinks we flee from him, 
Else he would never dare to attack us. Now, 
Now is the quarry set ! and Death doth sport 
In the bright sunshine of this fatal day. ' 

Dagiv. Now my heart dances, and I am as light 
As the young bridegroom going to be married. 
Now must I to my soldiers, get them ready, 
Furbish our armours bright, new plume our helms, 
And we will sing like the young housewives busied 
In the dairy. Now my feet are wing'd, but not 
For flight, an 't please your grace. 

King. If all my soldiers are as pleased as you, 


'Twill be a gallant thing to fight or die. 
Then 1 can never be afraid of Philip. 

Dagw. A rawbon'd fellow t'other day pass'd by me ; 
I told him to put off his hungry looks ; 
He said : ' I hunger for another battle.' 
I saw a Welshman with a fiery face : 
I told him that he look'd like a candle half 
Burn'd out. He answer'd he was * pig enough 
To light another pattle.' Last night beneath 
The moon I walk'd abroad when all had pitch'd 
Their tents, and all were still : 
I heard a blooming youth singing a song 
He had compos'd, and at each pause he wip'd 
His dropping eyes. The ditty was, 'If he 
Return'd victorious he should wed a maiden 
Fairer than snow and rich as midsummer.' 
Another wept, and wish'd health to his father. 
I chid them both, but gave them noble hopes. 
These are the minds that glory in the battle, 
And leap and dance to hear the trumpet sound. 

King. Sir Thomas Dagworth, be thou near our person : 
Thy heart is richer than the vales of France ; 
I will not part with such a man as thou. 
If Philip came arm'd in the ribs of death, 
And shook his mortal dart against my head, 
Thou'dst laugh his fury into nerveless shame ! 
Go now, for thou art suited to the work, 
Throughout the camp ; inflame the timorous, 
Blow up the sluggish into ardour, and 
Confirm the strong with strength, the weak inspire, 
And wing their brows with hope and expectation : 
Then to our tent return, and meet the Council. 


Prince. Now we are alone, Sir John, I will unburthen 
And breathe my hopes into the burning air, 

C 2 


Where thousand deaths are posting up and down, 

Commission'd to this fatal field of Cressy. 

Methinks I see them arm my gallant soldiers, 

And gird the sword upon each thigh, and fit 

Each shining helm, and string each stubborn bow, 

And dance unto the neighing of our steeds : 

Methinks the shout begins, the battle burns ; 

Methinks I see them perch on English crests, 

And roar the wild flame of fierce war upon 

The thronged enemy. In truth, I am too full ; 

It is my sin to love the noise of war. 

Chandos, thou seest my weakness ; for strong Nature 

Will bend or break us. My blood like a spring-tide 

Does rise so high to overflow all bounds 

Of moderation ; while Reason in her 

Frail bark can see no shore or bound for vast 

Ambition. Come then, take the helm, my Chandos, 

That my full-blown sails overset me not 

In the wild tempest ; condemn my venturous youth 

That plays with danger as the innocent child, 

Unthinking, plays upon the viper's den : 

I am a coward in my reason, Chandos. 

Chandos. You are a man, my Prince, and a brave man, 
If I can judge of actions ; but your heat 
Is the effect of youth and want of use ; 
Use makes the armed field and noisy war 
Pass over as a cloud does, unregarded, 
Or but expected as a thing of course. 
Age is contemplative ; each rolling year 
Doth bring forth fruit to the mind's treasure-house ; 
While vacant Youth doth crave and seek about 
Within itself, and findeth discontent ; 
Then, tir'd of thought, impatient takes the wing, 
Seizes the fruits of Time, attacks Experience, 
Roams round vast Nature's forest, where no bounds 
Are set; the swiftest may have room, the strongest 


Find prey ; till, tir'd at length, sated and tir'd 
With the still changing sameness, old variety, 
We sit us down, and view our former joys 
As worthless. 

Prince. Then, if we must tug for experience, 
Let us not fear to beat round Nature's wilds 
And rouse the strongest prey ; then if we fall, 
We fall with glory: for I know the wolf 
Is dangerous to fight, not good for food, 
Nor is the hide a comely vestment ; so 
We have our battle for our pains. I know. 
That youth has need of age to point fit prey, 
And oft the stander-by shall steal the fruit 
Of the other's labour. This is philosophy ; 
These are the tricks of the world ; but the pure soul 
Shall mount on wings, disdaining little sport, 
And cut a path into the heaven of glory, 
Leaving a track of light for men to wonder at. 
I'm glad my father does not hear me talk : 
You can find friendly excuses for me, Chandos ; 
But, do you not think, Sir John, that if it please 
The Almighty to stretch out my span of life 
I shall with pleasure view a glorious action 
Which my youth master'd ? 

Chand. Age, my lord, views motives, 
And views not acts. When neither warbling voice 
Nor trilling pipe is heard, nor pleasure sits 
With trembling age, the voice of Conscience, then 
Sweeter than music in a summer's eve, 
Shall warble round the snowy head, and keep 
Sweet symphony to feather'd angels sitting 
As guardians round your chair ; then shall the pulse 
Beat slow ; and taste and touch, sight, sound, and smell, 
That sing and dance round Reason's fine-wrought throne, 
Shall flee away, and leave him all forlorn 
Yet not forlorn if Conscience is his friend. {Exeunt. 



Walter. Sir Thomas Dagworth, I have been a-weeping 
Over the men that are to die to-day. 

Dagw. Why, brave Sir Walter, you or I may fall. 

Sir Walter. I know this breathing flesh must lie and rot 
Cbver'd with silence and forgetfulness. 
Death wons in cities' smoke, and in still night, 
When men sleep in their beds, walketh about ! 
How many in walled cities lie and groan, 
Turning themselves about upon their beds, 
Talking with Death, answering his hard demands ! 
How many walk in darkness, terrors around 
The curtains of their beds, destruction still 
Ready without the door ! how many sleep 
In earth, cover'd with stones and deathy dust, 
Resting in quietness, whose spirits walk 
Upon the clouds of heaven, to die no more ! 
Yet death is terrible, though on angels' wings : 
How terrible, then, is the field of death \ 
Where he doth rend the vault of heav'n, and shake 
The gates of hell ! Oh, Dagworth ! France is sick : 
The very sky, tho' sunshine light it, seems 
To me as pale as the pale fainting man 
On his death-bed, whose face is shown by light 
Of sickly taper ! It makes me sad and sick 
At very heart. Thousands- must fall to-day. 

Dagw. Thousands of souls must leave this prison house 
To be exalted to those heavenly fields, 


Where songs of triumph, palms of victory, 

Where peace, and joy, and love, and calm content 

Sit singing in the azure clouds, and strew 

Flowers of heaven's growth over the banquet table. 

Bind ardent Hope upon your feet like shoes, 

Put on the robe of preparation, 

The table is prepar'd in shining heav'n, 

The flowers of immortality are blown ; 

Let those that fight fight in good steadfastness, 
And those that fall shall rise in victory. 

Sir Walter. I've often seen the burning field of war 
And often heard the dismal clang of arms; 
But never, till this fatal day of Cressy, 
Has my soul fainted with these views of death. 
I seem to be in one great charnel-house, 
And seem to scent the rotten carcases ! 
I seem to hear the dismal yells of Death, 
While the black gore drops from his horrid jaws; 
Yet I not fear the monster in his pride. 
But oh, the souls that are to die to-day ! 

Dagw. Stop, brave Sir Walter, let me drop a tear, 
Then let the clarion of war begin ; 
I'll fight and weep ! 'tis in my country's cause ; 
I'll weep and shout for glorious liberty. 
Grim War shall laugh and shout, bedeck'd in tears, 
And blood shall flow like streams across the meadows, 
That murmur down their pebbly channels, and 
Spend their sweet lives to do their country service. 
Then England's leaves shall shoot, her fields shall smile, 
Her ships shall sing across the foaming sea, 

[er mariners shall use the flute and viol, 
rattling guns and black and dreary war 

lhall be no more. 

Sir Walter. Well, let the trumpet sound and the 
drum beat; 

.et war stain the blue heavens with bloody banners. 


I'll draw my sword, nor ever sheath it up, 

Till England blow the trump of victory, 

Or I lie stretch'd upon the field of death. [Exeunt. 

SCENE VI. In the Camp. Several of the Warriors met in 
the King's Tent. A Minstrel sings. 

O Sons of Trojan Brutus, cloth'd in war, 
Whose voices are the thunder of the field, 

Your ancestors came from the fires of Troy, 
(Like lions rous'd by lightning from their dens, 
Whose eyes do glare against the stormy fires,) 
Heated with war, fill'd with the blood of Greeks, 
With helmets hewn, and shields covered with gore, 
In navies black, broken with wind and tide. 

They landed in firm array upon the rocks 

Of Albion ; they kiss'd the rocky shore : 

' Be thou our mother and our nurse/ they said, 

' Our children's mother ; and thou shalt be our grave, 

* The sepulchre of ancient Troy, from whence 

' Shall rise cities, and thrones, and awful powers.' 

Our fathers swarm from the ships. Giant voices 
Are heard from out the hills ; the enormous sons 
Of Ocean run from rocks and caves : wild men, 
Naked, and roaring like lions, hurling rocks, 
And wielding knotty clubs, like oaks entangled, 
Thick as a forest ready for the axe. 

Our fathers move in firm array to battle ; 
The savage monsters rush like roaring fire, 
Like as a forest roars with crackling flames, 
When the red lightning borne by furious storms 


Lights on some woody shore, and the parch'd heavens 
Rain fire into the molten raging sea. 

Our fathers, sweating, lean on their spears and view 

The mighty dead : giant bodies streaming blood, 

Dread visages frowning in silent death. 

Then Brutus speaks, inspired; our fathers sit 

Attentive on the melancholy shore. 

Hear ye the voice of Brutus : ' The flowing waves 

* Of Time come rolling o'er my breast/ he said, 
' And my heart labours with futurity. 

' Our sons shall rule the empire of the sea, 

' Their mighty wings shall stretch from east to west ; 

* Their nest is in the sea, but they shall roam 
' Like eagles for their prey . . . 

' Our sons shall rise from thrones in joy, each one 
' Buckling his armour on ; Morning shall be 
1 Prevented by the gleaming of their swords, 
' And Evening hear their song of victory. 

' Freedom shall stand upon the cliffs of Albion, 
' Casting her blue eyes over the green ocean ; 
' Or, towering, stand upon the roaring waves, 
' Stretching her mighty spear o'er distant lands, 
' While with her eagle wings she covereth 
' Fair Albion's shore and all her families/ 




[ENGRAVED 1789.] 

HERE again but little need be added to what has already been 
said in the Life respecting the Songs of Innocence and Experience. 
The first series is incomparably the more beautiful of the two, being 
indeed almost flawless in essential respects; while in the second 
series, the five years intervening between the two had proved 
sufficient for obscurity and the darker mental phases of Blake's 
writings to set in and greatly mar its poetic value. This contrast 
is more especially evident in those pieces whose subjects tally in 
one and the other series. For instance, there can be no com- 
parison between the first Chimney Sweeper, which touches with such 
perfect simplicity the true pathetic chord of its subject, and the 
second, tinged somewhat with the commonplaces, if also with 
the truths, of social discontent. However, very perfect and noble 
examples of Blake's metaphysical poetry occur among the Songs of 
Experience, such as Christian Forbearance, and The Human Abstract. 
One piece, the second Cradle Song, I have myself introduced from 
the MS. note-book often referred to, since there can be no doubt 
that it was written to match with the first, and it has quite sufficient 
beauty to give it a right to its natural place. A few alterations and 
additions in other poems have been made from the same source. 



PIPING down the valleys wild, 
Piping songs of pleasant glee, 

On a cloud I saw a child, 

And he, laughing, said to me : 

' Pipe a song about a Lamb ! ' 
So I piped with merry cheer. 

' Piper, pipe that song again ; ' 
So I piped : he wept to hear. 

' Drop thy pipe, thy happy pipe ; 

Sing thy songs of happy cheer ! ' 
So I sang the same again, 

While he wept with joy to hear. 

* Piper, sit thee down and write 

In a book, that all may read.' 
So he vanish'd from my sight, 
And I plucked a hollow reed, 

And I made a rural pen, 

And I stain 'd the water clear, 

And I wrote my happy songs 
Every child may joy to hear. 



How sweet is the shepherd's sweet lot ! 
From the morn to the evening he strays ; 
He shall follow his sheep all the day, 
And his tongue shall be filled with praise. 

For he hears the lambs' innocent call, 2 
And he hears the ewes' tender reply ; 
He is watchful while they are in peace, 
For they know that their shepherd is nigh. 



THE sun does arise 

And make happy the skies ; 

The merry bells ring 

To welcome the spring ; 

The skylark and thrush, 

The birds of the bush, 

Sing louder around 

To the bells' cheerful sound ; 

While our sports shall be seen 

On the echoing green. 

Old John with white hair, 
Does laugh away care, 
Sitting under the oak, 
Among the old folk. 
They laugh at our play, 
And soon they all say, 
' Such) such were the joys 
When we all girls and boys 
In our youth-time were seen 
On the echoing green.' 

Till the little ones, weary, 

No more can be merry, 

The sun does descend, 

And our sports have an end. 

Round the laps of their mothers 

Many sisters and brothers, 

Like birds in their nest, 

Are ready for rest, 

And sport no more seen 

On the darkening green. 



LITTLE lamb, who made thee ? 

Dost thou know who made thee ? 
Gave thee life, and bade thee feed 
By the stream and o'er the mead ; 
Gave thee clothing of delight, 
Softest clothing, woolly, bright ; 
Gave thee such a tender voice, 
Making all the vales rejoice ? 

Little lamb, who made thee ? 

Dost thou know who made thee ? 

Little lamb, I'll tell thee ; 

Little lamb, I'll tell thee : 
He is called by thy name, 
For He calls Himself a Lamb. 
He is meek, and He is mild, 
He became a little child. 
I a child, and thou a lamb, 
We are called by His name. 

Little lamb, God bless thee ! 

Little lamb, God bless thee ! 



MY mother bore me in the southern wild, 
And I am black, but O, my soul is white. 

White as an angel is the English child, 
But I am black, as if bereaved of light. 

My mother taught me underneath a tree, 
And, sitting down before the heat of day, 

She took me on her lap and kissed me, 
And, pointing to the East, began to say : 

' Look on the rising sun : there God does live, 
And gives His light, and gives His heat away, 

And flowers and trees and beasts and men receive 
Comfort in, morning, joy in the noonday. 

'And we are put on earth a little space, 
That we may learn to bear the beams of love; 

And these black bodies and this sunburnt face 
Are but a cloud, and like a shady grove. 

* For when our souls have learn' d the heat to bear, 
The cloud will vanish, we shall hear His voice, 

Saying " Come out from the grove, my love and car,e, 
And round my golden tent like lambs rejoice."' 

Thus did my mother say, and kissed me, 
And thus I say to little English boy : 

When I from black, and he from white cloud free, 
And round the tent of God like lambs we joy; 

I'll shade him from the heat till he can bear 
To lean in joy upon our Father's knee ; 

And then I'll stand and stroke his silver hair, 
And be like him, and he will then love me. 




MERRY, merry sparrow! 
Under leaves so green 

A happy blossom 
Sees you, swift as arrow, 
Seek your cradle narrow, 

Near my bosom. 

Pretty, pretty robin ! 
Under leaves so green 

A happy blossom 
Hears you sobbing, sobbing, 
Pretty, pretty robin, 

Near my bosom. 



WHEN my mother died I was very young, 
And my father sold me while yet my tongue 
Could scarcely cry, ' Weep ! weep ! weep ! weep ! ' 
So your chimneys I sweep, and in soot I sleep. 

There's little Tom Dacre, who cried when his head, 
That curled like a lamb's back, was shaved ; so I said, 
' Hush, Tom ! never mind it, for when your head's bare, 
You know that the soot cannot spoil your white hair.' 


And so he was quiet, and that very night, 
As Tom was a-sleeping, he had such a sight ; 
That thousands of sweepers, Dick, Joe, Ned, and Jack, 
Were all of them lock'd up in coffins of black. 

And by came an angel, who had a bright key, 
And he opened the coffins, and set them all free ; 
Then down a green plain, leaping, laughing, they run, 
And wash in a river, and shine in the sun. 

Then naked and white, all 'their bags left behind, 
They rise upon clouds, and sport in the wind ; 
And the angel told Tom, if he'd be a good boy, 
He'd have God for his father, and never want joy. 

And so Tom awoke, and we rose in the dark, 
And got with our bags and our brushes to work ; 
Though the morning was cold, Tom was happy and warm 
So, if all do their duty, they need not fear harm. 

D 2 



FATHER, father, where are you going ? 

O do not walk so fast ; 
Speak, father, speak to your little boy, 

Or else I shall be lost. 

The night was dark, no father was there, 

The child was wet with dew ; 
The mire was deep, and the child did weep, 

And away the vapour flew. 


THE little boy lost in the lonely fen, 

Led by the wandering light, 
Began to cry, but God, ever nigh, 

Appeared like his father, in white. 

He kissed the child, and by the hand led, 

And to his mother brought, 
Who in sorrow pale through the lonely dale 

The little boy weeping sought. 




WHEN the green woods laugh with the voice of joy, 
And the dimpling stream runs laughing by ; 
When the air does laugh with our merry wit, 
And the green hill laughs with the noise of it ; 

When the meadows laugh with lively green, 
And the grasshopper laughs in the merry scene ; 
When Mary, and Susan, and Emily, 
With their sweet round mouths, sing * Ha, ha, he ! ' 

When the painted birds laugh in the shade, 
Where our table with cherries and nuts is spread : 
Come live, and be merry, and join with me, 
To sing the sweet chorus of ' Ha, ha, he ! ' 



SWEET dreams, form a shade 
O'er my lovely infant's head ! 
Sweet dreams of pleasant streams 
By happy, silent, moony beams ! 

Sweet sleep, with soft down 
Weave thy brows an infant crown ! 
Sweet sleep, angel mild, 
Hover o'er my happy child ! 

Sweet smiles, in the night 
Hover over my delight ! 
Sweet smiles, mother's smile. 
All the livelong night beguile ! 

Sweet moans, dovelike sighs, 
Chase not slumber from thine eyes ! 
Sweet moan, sweeter smile 
All the dovelike moans beguile ! 

Sleep, sleep, happy child ! 

All creation slept and smiled. 

Sleep, sleep, happy sleep ! 

While o'er thee doth mother weep. 

Sweet babe, in thy face 
Holy image I can trace ; 
Sweet babe, once like thee 
Thy Maker lay, and wept for me! 


Wept for me, for thee, for all, 
When He was an infant small. 
Thou His image ever see, 
Heavenly face that smiles on thee ! 

Smiles on thee, on me, on all, 
Who became an infant small ; 
Infant smiles like His own smile 
Heaven and earth to peace beguile. 




To mercy, pity, peace, and love, 
All pray in their distress, 

And to these virtues of delight 
Return their thankfulness. 

For mercy, pity, peace, and love, 
Is God our Father dear ; 

And mercy, pity, peace, and love, 
Is man, His child and care. 

For Mercy has a human heart, 

Pity a human face ; 
And Love, the human form divine ; 

And Peace, the human dress. 

Then every man, of every clime, 
That prays in his distress, 

Prays to the human form divine: 
Love, Mercy, Pity, Peace. 

And all must love the human form, 
In heathen, Turk, or Jew ; 

Where mercy, love, and pity dwell, 
There God is dwelling too. 



'TWAS on a Holy Thursday, their innocent faces clean, 
Came children walking two and two, in red, and blue, 

and green : 
Grey-headed beadles walk'd before, with wands as white 

as snow, 
Till into the high dome of Paul's, they like ; Thames' 

waters flow. 

O what a multitude they seem'd, these flowers of London 

Seated in companies they were, with radiance all their 

own : 

The hum of multitudes was there, but multitudes of lambs, 
Thousands of little boys and girls raising their innocent 


Now like a mighty wind they raise to heaven the voice 

of song, 

Or like harmonious thunderings the seats of heaven among : 
Beneath them sit the aged men, wise guardians of the poor. 
Then cherish pity, lest you drive an angel from your door. 



THE sun descending in the west, 
The evening star does shine, 
The birds are silent in their nest, 
And I must seek for mine. 

The moon, like a flower 

In heaven's high bower, 

With silent delight, 

Sits and smiles on the night. 

Farewell, green fields and happy grove, 
Where flocks have ta'en delight ; 
Where lambs have nibbled, silent move 
The feet of angels bright ; 

Unseen, they pour blessing, 

And joy without ceasing, 

On each bud and blossom, 

And each sleeping bosom. 

They look in every thoughtless nest, 
Where birds are covered warm ; 
They visit caves of every beast, 
To keep them all from harm : 
If they see any weeping 
That should have been sleeping, 
They pour sleep on their head, 
And sit down by their bed. 


When wolves and tigers howl for prey, 
They pitying stand and weep ; 
Seeking to drive their thirst away, 
And keep them from the sheep. 

But if they rush dreadful, 

The angels, most heedful, 

Receive each mild spirit, 

New worlds to inherit. 

And there the lion's ruddy eyes 
Shall flow with tears of gold : 
And pitying the tender cries, 
And walking round the fold : 

Saying : ' Wrath by his meekness, 

And by His health, sickness, 

Are driven away 

From our immortal day. 

' And now beside thee, bleating lamb, 
I can lie down and sleep, 
Or think on Him who bore thy name, 
Graze after thee, and weep. 

For wash'd in life's river, 

My bright mane for ever 

Shall shine like the gold, 

As I guard o'er the fold.' 




SOUND the flute ! 
Now 'tis mute ; 
Birds delight, 
Day and night, 
In the dale, 
Lark in sky, 
Merrily, merrily to welcome in the year. 

Little boy, 
Full of joy ; 
Little girl, 
Sweet and small ; 
Cock does crow, 
So do you ; 
Merry voice, 
Infant noise; 
Merrily, merrily to welcome in the year. 

Little lamb, 
Here I am ; 
Come and lick 
My white neck; 
Let me pull 
Your soft wool ; 
Let me kiss 
Your soft face ; 
Merrily, merrily we welcome in the year. 



WHEN the voices of children are heard on the green, 

And laughing is heard on the hill, 
My heart is at rest within my breast, 

And everything else is still. 
Then come home, my children, the sun is gone down, 

And the dews of night arise; 
Come, come, leave off play, and let us away 

Till the morning appears in the skies. 

No, no, let us play, for it is yet day, 

Arid we cannot go to sleep ; 
Besides, in the sky the little birds fly, 

And the hills are all covered with sheep. . 
Well, well, go and play till the light fades away, 

And then go home to bed. 
The little ones leap'd, and shouted, and laugh'd, 

And all the hills echoed. 



' I HAVE no name ; 
I am but two days old.' 
What shall I call thee ? 
' I happy am, 
Joy is my name.' 
Sweet joy befall thee ! 

Pretty joy ! 

Sweet joy, but two days old. 

Sweet joy I call thee : 

Thou dost smile. 

I sing the while, 

Sweet joy befall thee ! 



ONCE a drearn did weave a shade 
O'er my angel-guarded bed, 
That an emmet lost its way 
Where on grass methought I lay. 

Troubled, 'wilder'd, and forlorn, 
Dark, benighted, travel-worn, 
Over many a tangled spray, 
All heart-broke, I heard her say : 

' O, my children ! do they cry, 
Do they hear their father sigh? 
Now they look abroad to see, 
Now return and weep for me.' 

Pitying, I dropp'd a tear : 
But I saw a glow-worm near, 
Who replied, 'What wailing wight 
Calls the watchman of the night ? 

' I am set to light the ground, 
While the beetle goes his round. 
Follow now the beetle's hum, 
Little wanderer, hie thee home ! ' 



CAN I see another's woe, 
And not be in sorrow too ? 
Can I see another's grief, 
And not seek for kind relief? 

Can I see a falling tear, 
And not feel my sorrows share ? 
Can a father see his child 
Weep, nor be with sorrow fill'd ? 

Can a mother sit and hear, 
An infant groan, an infant fear ? 
No, no ! never can it be ! 
Never, never can it be ! 

And can He, who smiles on all, 
Hear the wren, with sorrows small, 
Hear the small bird's grief and care, 
Hear the woes that infants bear ? 

And not sit beside the nest, 
Pouring Pity in their breast ? 
And not sit the cradle near, 
Weeping tear on infant's tear ? 

And not sit both night and day, 
Wiping all our tears away ? 
Oh, no ! never can it be ! 
Never, never can it be ! 


He doth give His joy to all : 

He becomes an infant small, 

He becomes a man of woe, 

He doth feel the sorrow too. 

Think not thou canst sigh a sigh, 
And thy Maker is not by : 
Think not thou canst weep a tear, 
And thy Maker is not near. 

Oh ! He gives to us His joy, 
That our griefs He may destroy : 
Till our grief is fled and gone 
He doth sit by us and moan. 





YOUTH of delight ! come hither 

And see the opening morn, 

Image of Truth new-born. 

Doubt is fled, and clouds of reason, 

Dark disputes and artful teasing. 

Folly is an endless maze ; 

Tangled roots perplex her ways ; 

How many have fallen there ! 

They stumble all night over bones of the dead ; 

And feel they know not what save care ; 

And wish to lead others, when they should be led. 



[ENGRAVED 1794.] 


HEAR the voice of the bard, 

Who Present, Past, and Future sees ; 

Whose ears have heard 

The Holy Word 

That walked among the ancient trees, 

Calling the lapsed soul, 

And weeping in the evening dew ; 

That might control 

The starry pole, 

And fallen, fallen light renew ! 

O Earth, O Earth, return ! 

Arise from out the dewy grass! 

Night is worn, 

And the morn 

Rises from the slumberous mass. 

Turn away no more ; 

Why wilt thou turn away ? 

The starry floor, 

The watery shore, 

Is given thee till the break of day. 

E 2 



EARTH raised up her head 

From the darkness dread and drear, 

Her light fled, 

(Stony dread!) 

And her locks covered with grey despair. 

' Prisoned on watery shore, 

Starry jealousy does keep my den 

Cold and hoar ; 

Weeping o'er, 

I hear the father of the ancient men. 

Selfish father of men ! 

Cruel, jealous, selfish fear ! 

Can delight, 

Chain'd in night, 

The virgins of youth and morning bear ? 

Does spring hide its joy, 

When buds and blossoms grow ? 

Does the sower 

Sow by night ? 

Or the ploughman in darkness plough ? 

Break this heavy chain, 

That does freeze my bones around ! 

Selfish, vain, 

Eternal bane, 

That free love with bondage bound.' 




LOVE seeketh not itself to please, 
Nor for itself hath any care, 

But for another gives its ease, 

And builds a heaven in hell's despair. 

So sang a little clod of clay, 
Trodden with the cattle's feet ; 

But a pebble of the brook 

Warbled out these metres meet : 

' Love seeketh only Self to please, 
To bind another to its delight, 

Joys in another's loss of ease, 

And builds a hell in heaven's despite.' 



Is this a holy thing to see, 
In a rich and fruitful land, 

Babes reduced to misery, 

Fed with a cold usurious hand ? 

Is that trembling cry a song ? 

Can it be a song of joy, 
And so many children poor ? 

It is a land of poverty! 

And their sun does never shine, 

And their fields are bleak and bare, 

And their ways are fill'd with thorns : 
It is eternal winter there. 

For where'er the sun does shine, 
And where'er the rain does fall, 

Babes should never hunger there, 
Nor poverty the mind appal. 




IN futurity, 

I prophetic see, 

That the earth from sleep 

(Grave the sentence deep) 

Shall arise, and seek 
For her Maker meek ; 
And the desert wild 
Become a garden mild. 

In the southern clime, 
Where the summer's prime 
Never fades away, 
Lovely Lyca lay. 

Seven summers old 
Lovely Lyca told. 
She had wandered long, 
Hearing wild birds' song. 

' Sweet sleep, come to me 
Underneath this tree ; 
Do father, mother weep ? 
Where can Lyca sleep ? 

' Lost in desert wild 
Is your little child. 
How can Lyca sleep 
If her mother weep ? 


' If her heart does ache, 
Then let Lyca wake ; 
If my mother sleep, 

Lyca shall not weep. 


' Frowning, frowning night, 
O'er this desert bright 
Let thy moon arise, 
While I close my eyes/ 

Sleeping Lyca lay 
While the beasts of prey, 
Come from caverns deep, 
View'd the maid asleep. 

The kingly lion stood 
And the virgin view'd, 
Then he gambol'd round 
O'er the hallow'd ground ; 

Leopards, tigers, play 
Round her as she lay, 
While the lion old 
Bow'd his mane of gold, 

And her breast did lick 
And upon her neck, 
From his eyes of flame, 
Ruby tears there came ; 

While the lioness 
Loos'd her slender dress, 
And naked they conveyed 
To caves the sleeping maid. 



ALL the night in woe 
Lyca's parents go 
Over valleys deep, 
While the deserts weep. 

Tired and woe-begone, 
Hoarse with making moan, 
Arm in arm, seven days 
They tread the desert ways. 

Seven nights they sleep 
Among shadows deep, 
And dream they see their child 
Starved in desert wild. 

Pale thro' pathless ways 
The fancied image strays 
Famish'd, weeping, weak, 
With hollow piteous shriek. 

Rising from unrest, 
The trembling woman prest 
With feet of weary woe ; 
She could no further go. 

In his arms he bore 

Her, armed with sorrows sore ; 

Till before their way 

A couching lion lay. 


Turning back -was vain, 
Soon his heavy mane 
Bore them to the ground ; 
Then he stalk'd around, 

Smelling to his prey, 
But their fears allay 
When he licks their hands 
And silent by them stands. 

They look upon his eyes 
Filled with deep surprise ; 
And wondering behold 
A spirit arrn'd in gold. 

On his head a crown, 
On his shoulders down 
Flow'd his golden hair. 
Gone was all their care. 

' Follow me,' he said, 
* Weep not for the maid ; 
' In my palace deep, 
' Lyca lies asleep.' 

Then they followed 
Where the vision led, 
And saw their sleeping child 
Among tigers wild. 

To this day they dwell 
In a lonely dell, 
Nor fear the wolvish howl 
Nor the lion's growl. 




A LITTLE black thing among the snow, 
Crying ' weep ! weep ! ' in notes of woe ! 
Where are thy father and mother ? Say : 
1 They are .both gone up to the church to pru, . 

' Because I was happy upon the heath, 
' And smiFd among the winter's snow, 
' They clothed me in the clothes of death, 
' And taught me to sing the notes of woe. 

' And because I am happy and dance and sing, 

' They think they have done me no injury, 

' And are gone to praise God and His Priest and King, 

Who make up a heaven of our misery.' 



WHEN the voices of children are heard on the green, 

And whisperings are in the dale, 
The days of my youth rise fresh in my mind, 

My face turns green and pale. 

Then come home, my children, the sun is gone down, 

And the dews of night arise; 
Your spring and your day are wasted in play, 

And your winter and night in disguise. 


O ROSE, thou art sick! 

The invisible worm 
That flies in the night, 

In the howling storm, 

Has found out thy bed 

Of crimson joy, 
And his dark secret love 

Does thy life destroy. 




Thy summer's play 
My thoughtless hand 
Has brushed away. 

Am not I 
A fly like thee ? 
Or art not thou 
A man like me ? 

For I dance, 
And drink, and sing, 
Till some blind hand 
Shall brush my wing. 

If thought is life, 

And strength, and breath ; 

And the want 

Of thought is death ; 

Then am I 
A happy fly, 
If I live, 
Or if I die. 



I DREAMT a dream ! What can it mean ? 
And that I was a maiden Queen 
Guarded by an Angel mild : 
Witless woe was ne'er beguil'd ! 

And I wept both night and day, 
And he wip'd my tears away ; 
And I wept both day and night, 
And hid from him my heart's delight. 

So he took his wings, and fled ; 
Then the morn blush'd rosy red. 
I dried my tears, and arm'd my fears 
With ten thousand shields and spears. 

Soon my Angel came again, 
I was arm'd, he came in vain ; 
For the time of youth was fled, 
And grey hairs were on my head. 



TIGER, Tiger, burning bright 
In the forest of the night, 
What immortal hand or eye 
Framed thy fearful symmetry ? 

In what distant deeps or skies 
Burned that fire within thine eyes? 
On what wings dared he aspire ? 
What the hand dared seize the fire ? 

And what shoulder, and what art, 
Could twist the sinews of thy heart ? 
When thy heart began to beat, 
What dread hand formed thy dread feet ? 

What the hammer, what the chain, 
Knit thy strength and forged thy brain ? 
What the anvil ? What dread grasp 
Dared thy deadly terrors clasp ? 

When the stars threw down their spears, 
And water'd heaven with their tears, 
Did He smile His work to see ? 
Did le who made the lamb make thee ? 



A FLOWER was offer'd to me, 

Such a flower as May never bore, 

But I said, I've a pretty rose tree, 
And I passed the sweet flower o'er. 

Then I went to my pretty rose tree, 
To tend her by day and by night, 

But my rose turned away with jealousy 
And her thorns were my only delight. 


AH ! Sunflower ! weary of time, 

Who countest the steps of the sun ; 

Seeking after that sweet golden prime 
Where the traveller's journey is done ; 

Where the Youth pined away with desire, 
And the pale virgin shrouded in snow, 

Arise from their graves, and aspire 
Where my sunflower wishes to go. 



THE modest Rose puts forth a thorn, 

The humble sheep a threat'ning horn : 

While the Lily white shall in Love delight, 

Nor a thorn, nor a threat, stain her beauty bright. 


I LAID me down upon a bank, 

Where Love lay sleeping; 
I heard among the rushes dank 

Weeping, weeping. 

Then I went to the heath and the wild, 
To the thistles and thorns of the waste ; 

And they told me how they were beguil'd, 
Driven out, and compelled to be chaste. 

I went to the Garden of Love, 

And saw what I never had seen ; 
A Chapel was built in the midst, 

Where I used to play on the green. 

And the gates of this Chapel were shut, 

And ' thou shalt not/ writ over the door ; 
So I turned to the Garden of Love 


That so many sweet flowers bore. 

And I saw it was filled with graves, 

And tombstones where flowers should be, 

And priests in black gowns were walking their rounds, 
And binding with briars my joys and desires. 




DEAR mother, dear mother, the Church is cold, 

But the Alehouse is healthy, and pleasant, and warm ; 

Besides, I can tell where I am used well ; 

The poor parsons with wind like a blown bladder swell. 

But if at the Church they would give us some Ale, 
And a pleasant fire our souls to regale, 
We'd sing and we'd pray all the livelong day, 
Nor ever once wish from the Church to stray. 

Then the Parson might preach, and drink, and sing, 
And we'd be as happy as birds in the spring, 
And modest Dame Lurch, who is always at Church, 
Would not have bandy children, nor fasting, nor birch. 

And God, like a father, rejoicing to see 

His children as pleasant and happy as He, 

Would have no more quarrel with the Devil or the Barrel, 

But kiss him, and give him both drink and apparel. 



I WANDER through each chartered street, 
Near where the charter' d Thames does flow. 

And mark in every face I meet 
Marks of weakness, marks of woe. 

In every cry of every man, 

In every infant's cry of fear, 
In every voice, in every ban, 

The mind-forg'd manacles I hear. 

How the chimney-sweeper's cry 

Every blackening church appals, 
And the hapless soldier's sigh 

Runs in blood down palace walls. 

But most, through midnight streets I hear 

How the youthful harlot's curse 
Blasts the new-born infant's tear, 

And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse. 

F 2 



PITY would be no more 
If we did not make somebody poor, 
And Mercy no more could be 
If all were as happy as we. 

And mutual fear brings Peace, 
Till the selfish loves increase ; 
Then Cruelty knits a snare, 
And spreads his baits with care. 

He sits down with holy fears, 
And waters the ground with tears ; 
Then Humility takes its root 

Underneath his foot. 

Soon spreads the dismal shade 
Of Mystery over his head, 
And the caterpillar and fly 
Feed on the Mystery. 

And it bears the fruit of Deceit, 
Ruddy and sweet to eat, 
And the raven his nest has made 
In its thickest shade. 

The gods of the earth and sea 
Sought through nature to find this tree, 
But their search was all in vain : 
There grows one in the human Brain. 



MY mother groaned, my father wept, 
Into the dangerous world I leapt, 
Helpless, naked, piping loud, 
Like a fiend hid in a cloud. 

Struggling in my father's hands, 
Striving against my swaddling bands, 
Bound, and weary, I thought best 
To sulk upon my mother's breast. 


I WAS angry with my friend : 

I told my -wrath, my wrath did end. 

I was angry with my foe : 

I told it not, my wrath did grow. 

And I watered it in fears 
Night and morning with my tears, 
And I sunned it with smiles 
And with soft deceitful wiles. 

And it grew both day and night 
Till it bore an apple bright, 
And my foe beheld it shine, 
And he knew that it was mine, 

And into my garden stole 

When the night had veil'd the pole ; 

In the morning, glad, I see 

My foe outstretch'd beneath the tree. 



' NOUGHT loves another as itself, 

' Nor venerates another so, 
' Nor is it possible to thought 

' A greater than itself to know. 

' And, Father, how can I love you 
' Or any of my brothers more ? 

' I love you like the little bird 

' That picks up crumbs around the door.' 

The Priest sat by and heard the child ; 

In trembling zeal he seiz'd his hair, 
He led him by his little coat, 

And all admired the priestly care. 

And standing on the altar high, 

' Lo ! what a fiend is here/ said he, 

' One who sets reason up for judge 
' Of our most holy Mystery.' 

The weeping child could not be heard, 
The weeping parents wept in vain, 

They stripp'd him to his little shirt 
And bound him in an iron chain, 

And burned him in a holy place 

Where many had been burned before ; 

The weeping parents wept in vain. 

Are such things done on Albion's shore ? 



CHILDREN of the future Age, 
Reading this indignant page, 
Know that, in a former time, 
Love, sweet love, was thought a crime. 

In the age of gold, 

Free from winter's cold, 

Youth and maiden bright, 

To the holy light, 

Naked in the sunny beams delight. 

Once a youthful pair, 

Fill'd with softest care, 

Met in garden bright, 

Where the holy light 

Had just removed the curtains of the night. 

Then, in rising day, 

On the grass they play ; 

Parents were afar, 

Strangers came not near, 

And the maiden soon forgot her fear. 

Tired with kisses sweet, 

They agree to meet 

When the silent sleep, 

Waves o'er heaven's deep 

And the weary tired wanderers weep. 


To her father white 

Came the maiden bright, 

But his loving look, 

Like the holy book, 

All her tender limbs with terror shook. 

Ona ! pale and weak, 

To thy father speak ? 

Oh ! the trembling fear, 

Oh ! the dismal care 

That shakes the blossoms of my hoary hair! 



SLEEP, sleep, beauty bright, 
Dreaming in the joys of night; 
Sleep, sleep ; in thy sleep 
Little sorrows sit and weep. 

Sweet babe, in thy face 
Soft desires I can trace, 
Secret joys and secret smiles/ 
Little pretty infant wiles. 

As thy softest limbs I feel, 
Smiles as of the morning steal 
O'er thy cheek, and o'er thy breast 
Where thy little heart doth rest. 

Oh the cunning wiles that creep 
In thy little heart asleep ! 
When thy little heart doth wake, 
Then the dreadful light shall break. 



I LOVE to rise on a summer morn, 

When birds are singing on every tree ; 

The distant huntsman winds his horn, 
And the skylark sings with me : 
O what sweet company ! 


But to go to school in a summer morn, 

Oh ! it drives all joy away ; 
Under a cruel eye outworn, 

The little ones spend the day 

In sighing and dismay. 

Ah! then at times I drooping sit 
And spend many an anxious hour; 

Nor in my book can I take delight, 
Nor sit in learning's bower, 
Worn through with the dreary shower. 

How can the bird that is born for joy 
Sit in a cage and sing ? 

How can a child, when fears annoy, 
But droop his tender wing, 
And forget his youthful spring ? 

O father and mother, if buds are nipp'd, 
And blossoms blown away; 

And if the tender plants are stripp'd 
Of their joy in the springing day, 
By sorrow and care's dismay, 


How shall the summer arise in joy, 

Or the summer fruits appear ? 
Or how shall we gather what griefs destroy, 

Or bless the mellowing year, 

When the blasts of winter appear ? 



WHATE'ER is born of Mortal Birth 
Must be consumed with the earth, 
To rise from generation free : 
Then what have I to do with thee ? 

The sexes sprang from shame and pride, 
Blown in the morn, in evening died ; 
But mercy changed death into sleep ; 
The sexes rose to work and weep. 

Thou, mother of my mortal part, 
With cruelty didst mould my heart, 
And with false self-deceiving tears 
Didst bind my nostrils, eyes, and ears, 

Didst close my tongue in senseless clay, 
And me to mortal life betray. 
The death of Jesus set me free: 
Then what have I to do with thee ? 


V/liil/'. ojjr,*porhf aK<il lie\^T\ 
,On we Ffriw>Md Green . s / 

-^* * 

OlJ 3olur\ v.ik v.4vi^e k.ux' 
])r>.\S LllK^kOM 


* He became.' a littlp, rJtiM . 

* ai ,.v'~- 1 -ftiJe Lan\l> Go-1 !>loG< ^tf/i ' 

form a 
ly infants 
reams of pie ajsa^^tr earns 

own. _ 
rorw^ an utfawt crown 

I,- T A Hie Divine Imatfe *~* 
*> * ^^^-^=&&~* o 

To W 'r<j Prty Pe<u:r .and L 
^U pray inttuur clustrcls : f^- 
nn to tlfts \ntiu.^ of il 

j^Iaivi^ ciuin uiui cnnt > 

FOJ Mercy hu5 antiitvHJtli/'iTrt 

ity, a human ice ; ^ 
iiie huttuttiwrm 
( 1 race , tiie hunimvTltx'&. 

wi every man oi rv c-y rhiu^*i 
hal praytf iniua <listic*, 
AVfi to tiu j . Matrant (ornv tUvm 

And all muM luvc ikuKmttaiiiom 

In littalh<'M,tiiiK or jew 
\G\\\ Merry .Lo\V 

Kuce ol duldm are heani on the green J^^Js 

il$Ji-'ZS&-Z2irLt*L^* it*** -e^^ if^r' ^-^^^^^ * 

WTE catinal 
in the 

n r"I/orrow<s jgnare , >7 

^ , row Old. 

' Can a/mot!ver srt and near, "^'l 
An infant groan an infant fear 
No no never can it be .^ 
.Never nev^r can it ne 

on ail 

Hear die ^inwll ntrcUgn< V care JJ 
Hear the woe^ -tluL ii\fants bcar^^^ 

And not sit laeSideinH ne/ 
Ponrin* pjtj7 in tneir breast - 
And not art the cradle near *?/ 
Wee|iin^-tear on infants tear. 

And not ^it bo4\ ni^kt ^f day. >J 
^A^jsind all PUT tearg aw^y. ^ ->y 

O.'no never can it Le . 

Never nevipr can it he . 

e clotn ^iv^ nis j< 

fc becomes an iirtal 
He becomes a man oi* woe 
He. flotli feel tlte Sorrow too . / 
"Hunk not.tkou canst Sa^K , s^K , &~~\Z^ 
Artdjtfy maker is notj)jr r| 

lliiitk nrtt.tKoucanstvirpep at^a^ ^ sT 
IT i* n< >t n . -^ < <>- k 




r f. ... x i " ~ 


The Aul/ior ^ Prirrtc?. V/B/af<c 

- ^Jjfc """" -^JgJe^ ' W****^' '. 

jL^ Girl o$t*Jl$. 

:1i eaavf : om;5lfteli. X / 
Uie sentence deep) / /j 

arwe an 
"jr kcr maker ni^ftkj 

1 ^ BccOM^a^<u-aen.m[rl.|ij ] l| /fj (> 

P| | , 

; ^\^ fc-.^;?feLirilL.'!i yHlT^N d ; 

/-if i! Lotfti^ <ks<art \vJil . 

^ ; $^ W ^i^^'f^ ' 

J H" luiT mJthS W*>^|)' ' j 

^ tl'l I _ . ---- -.1,,, 

Lyca,snHli not wo 

SW\ L*>ywM>triM, 

t/C \ Vslulc IrJrtfe'emy eyf..^. 

^1 I 'Wltiletli'i' beasts, of j'i;ey 

I'\\j Come {i-otn ca\'W ("loffj 

. IN .^^ Tr 1 . .i 1' . jt 1 

She rvould n 

In liis arms t>- bor-c. 

Her arni' 

Till before tJiU' v/ay." 

hack -was vain . 
heayv atanje . 

V liore thi^m to ttw around 
H TT,r he fihilka arou.v 

rtteHiii/lf> his prey. 
S <Jte fe^ra allg . 
Wlirn lio li/'ke tlv 

On W hea <.\ a rmwn. 
On hJSjbliouMeng dcnv 
Bowiri Itis oold/?ii hair. *^ *\ 
Gone v^-viiTalJ their car* . i 

Folltrw ntf he 

^S r 

JL^ca hef< asleep 

\VJiere \e vso 
Ajicl /ScUv titr-i 


Pretty TiQSE ZftEE 

< ' ty -.. 

/ r. , 
^, flower >vasf cetera, to 

a. jftWer ay <May jnever 

I've cc, frett Ro&e-tree . 
oee . 


Afv Suit-flower ! weary oT tuttc . 
cotutteyt the steps' o^"tlte 

VVTtene the IfoutA. pined, awa^ wrtJt desrjre , 

t/tf pa/e Virgjn. s'hroutieti Jtt 
front^Kii: gravel aiui a 
Wifiere oyr.^Siuv^fcloK'er wsftes' to 

JwjnJbU ^JJteep 

tfweat: ^taut Jter 


' eac/t ?7tartercJ.- 
Wtere f&e ckartertL 
mark in every feuce I mfiet -^ 
< of weaJcneZs' jtnar/cs' of >voe , 

In. ev^cry Imants' c/y o/* fear 
Lt every voice . in every bait . 
B nund-or>(L manacle* I hear 

tfcfi Jxa|jJas / Soldi 

tdagwss tke .Marriage 

"? Juunctn ^Abstr 

ttie & of D^ 

tven, t^ 
e Gidsr aftfie 

their search. wct& all en vain, 
grow* one _ui the 

gpuntl . anX, weary J ttotteht bet 
\ S**tof* upon, my jn0tfa>& Brea&t. 


Hove to life ma summer morn, 
.When tkc bird* tflng on e very tree ; 
nFifc distant Jbimtsinanvanus his horn 
id the. ky-lark ^dn^s \vitk me . 'Vy. 
^ what ,srcveet company 'W-^n^f 

Butto^o tojscnool in a .summer morn 
_ O) it dmie^ ail j^y ^vvay , ^^ 
f / ~/ Under a cruel eye oufv^orn . ' 
4 4 jf TKe little ones fipendtKe d^. 
. 1^ i/ T t , ^iojxin^ and dtgtrn^. ^^ 

JiJ-men at tun6S Idroopmg , ^o 
tod jgpetxd many an anxious^ Kovir , 
Tor in my boot cattltake delight * 
. For^it uv learning bov^r 
.Worn thro \vith me dreary ffa 

low can the bird ikat 'IB born torjoj ,i 
sit in a cage and ^in^ .' 
low can a cKild wKeixfearfi annoy, 
lut droop Ki5 tender >vin^ , 

f~ arenipd, 

LSidift^ tender; 
CM'tlxpir joy in tixe /sp rir ^ ll: ^ <^y 
I J3y Borrow and cau*a^ (firnoy . 

1-Iow .vkall tke dimmer arirfe m joy ^ 
Or me jaumn\er fruits appear. ^(t 
Or kow shall \vc gatker TvJmt^r 
Or bldfe the meUmvin^yedr. 

ts of wutter abpeat*. 


[ENGRAVED 1789.] 

[The Thel has been spoken of in the Life (Chapter X. pages 76-8). It is equal 
in delightfulness to Blake's lyrical poetry ; and being the most tender and simple of 
the class of his works to which it belongs, may prove the most generally acceptable 
as a specimen of these.] 

Does the Eagle know what is in the pit ? 

Or wilt thou go and ask the mole? 
Can Wisdom be put in a silver rod? 

Or Love in a golden bowl? 

THE daughters of the Seraphim led round their sunny flocks, 
All but the youngest : she in paleness sought the secret air 


To fade away like morning beauty from her mortal day. 
Down by the river of Adona her soft voice is heard, 
And thus her gentle lamentation falls like morning dew. 
" O life of this our Spring ! why fades the lotus of the 

water ? 
Why fade these children of the Spring, born 'but to smile 

and fall? 

Ah ! Thel is like a watery bow, and like a parting cloud, 
Like a reflection in a glass, like shadows in the water, 
Like dreams of infants, like a smile upon an infant's face, 
Like the dove's voice, like transient day, like music in the 

Ah ! gentle may I lay me down, and gentle rest my 

And gentle sleep the sleep of death, and gentle hear the 

Of him that walketh in the garden in the evening time." 

The Lily of the valley breathing in the humble grass 

Answer'd the lovely maid and said : " I am a watery weed, 

And I am very small, and love to dwell in lowly vales ; 

So weak, the gilded butterfly scarce perches on my head. 

Yet I am visited from heaven ; and He that smiles on all 

Walks in the valley, and each morn over me spreads His 

Saying, ' Rejoice, thou humble grass, thou new-born lily- 

Thou gentle maid of silent valleys and of modest brooks ; 

For thou shalt be clothed in light and fed with morning 

Till summer's heat melts thee beside the fountains and the 

To flourish in eternal vales.' Then why should Thel 
complain ? 

Why should the mistress of the vales of Har utter a 


She ceased and smiled in tears, then sat down in her silver 

Thel answer'd : " O thou little virgin of the peaceful valley, 
Giving to those that cannot crave, the voiceless, the 

o'ertired ; 
Thy breath doth nourish the innocent lamb, he smells thy 

milky garments, 

He crops thy flowers, whilst thou sittest smiling in his face, 
Wiping his mild and meekin mouth from all contagious 


Thy wine doth purify the golden honey, thy perfume, 
Which thou dost scatter on every little blade of grass that 


Revives the milked cow, and tames the fire-breathing steed. 
But Thel is like a faint cloud kindled at the rising sun : 
I vanish from my pearly throne, and who shall find my 

place ? " 

"Queen r of the vales/' the Lily answered, "ask the tender 


And it shall tell thee why it glitters in the morning sky, 
And why it scatters its bright beauty through the humid 

Descend, O little cloud, and hover before the eyes of 


The cloud descended, and the Lily bowed her modest head 
And went to mind her numerous charge among the verdant 



" O little cloud," the Virgin said, " I charge thee tell to me 
Why thou complainest not, when in one hour thou fad'st 

away : 
Then we shall seek thee, but not find. Ah ! Thel is like 

to thee ; 
I pass away, yet I complain and no one hears my voice." 


The cloud then showed his golden head, and his bright 

form emerged 
Hovering and glittering on the air before the face of Thel. 

"O virgin, know'st thou not our steeds drink of the golden 

Where Luvah doth renew his horses ? Look'st thou on 

my youth, 

And fearest thou because I vanish and am seen no more ? 
Nothing remains. O maid, I tell thee, when I pass away 
It is to tenfold life, to love, to peace, and raptures holy. 
Unseen descending weigh my light wings upon balmy 

And court the fair-eye'd dew to take me to her shining 

tent : 

The weeping virgin trembling kneels before the risen sun, 
Till we arise, link'd in a golden band, and never part, 
But walk united, bearing food to all our tender flowers." 

" Dost thou, O little cloud ? I fear that I am not like 

For I walk through the vales of Har, and smell the 

sweetest flowers ; 

But I feed not the little flowers : I hear the warbling birds, 
But I feed not the warbling birds, they fly and seek their 

food : 

But Thel delights in these no more because I fade away, 
And all shall say, without a use this shining woman liv'd, 
Or did she only live to be at death the food of worms ? " 

The Cloud reclin'd upon his airy throne and answer'd 

" Then if thou art the food of worms, O virgin of the skies, 
How great thy use, how great thy blessing. Every thing 

that lives, 
Lives not alone nor for itself. Fear not and I will call 


The weak worm from its lowly bed, and thou shalt hear 

its voice. 
Come forth, worm of the silent valley, to thy pensive 


The helpless worm arose, and sat upon the Lily's leaf, 
And the bright cloud sailed on to find his partner in the 

Then Thel, astonished, viewed the worm upon its dewy bed. 

" Art thou a worm ? image of weakness, art thou but a 

worm ? 

I see thee, like an infant, wrapped in the Lily's leaf: 
Ah ! weep not, little voice, thou canst not speak, but thou 

canst weep. 

Is this a worm ? I see thee lie helpless and naked, weeping, 
And none to answer, none to cherish thee with mother's 


The clod of clay heard the worm's voice, and rais'd her 

pitying head : 

She bow'd over the weeping infant, and her life exhal'd 
In milky fondness : then on Thel she fixed her humble eyes. 

" O beauty of the vales of Har! we live not for ourselves. 
Thou seest me, the meanest thing, and so I am indeed ; 
My bosom of itself is cold and of itself is dark, 
But He that loves the lowly pours His oil upon my head, 
And kisses me, and binds His nuptial bands around my 

And says : ' Thou mother of my children, I have loved 


I have given thee a crown that none can take away.' 
VOL. TI. - G 


But how this is, sweet maid, I know not, and I cannot 

know ; 
I ponder, and I cannot ponder : yet I live and love ! " 

The daughter of beauty wip'd her pitying tears with her 

white veil, 
And said : " Alas ! I knew not this, and therefore did I 

That God would love a worm, I knew, and punish the evil 


That wilful bruised its helpless form ; but that He cherish'd it 
With milk and oil, I never knew, and therefore did I weep. 
And I complained in the mild air, because I fade away, 
And lay me down in thy cold bed, and leave my shining lot." 

" Queen of the vales," the matron clay answered ; " 1 heard 

thy sighs, 
And all thy moans flew o'er my roof, but I have calPd them 


Wilt thou, O queen, enter my house ? 'tis given thee to enter, 
And to return : fear nothing, enter with thy virgin feet." 


The eternal gates' terrific porter lifted the northern bar ; 
Thel enter'd in and saw the secrets of the land unknown. 
She saw the couches of the dead, and where the fibrous root 
Of every heart on earth infixes deep its restless twists : 
A land of sorrows and of tears, where never smile was seen. 

She wander'd in the land of clouds, through valleys dark, 


Dolours and lamentations ; wailing oft beside a dewy grave 
She stood in silence, listening to the voices of the ground, 
Till to her own grave-plot she came, and there she sat down, 
And heard this voice of sorrow breathed from the hollow pit : 


" Why cannot the ear be closed to its own destruction ? 
Or the glistening eye to the poison of a smile ? 
Why are eyelids stor'd with arrows ready drawn, 
Where a thousand fighting-men in ambush lie, 
Or an eye of gifts and graces showering fruits and coined 
gold ? 

" Why a tongue impress'd with honey from every wind ? 
Why an ear, a whirlpool fierce to draw creations in? 
Why a nostril wide inhaling terror, trembling and affright ? 
Why a tender curb upon the youthful burning boy ? 
Why a little curtain of flesh on the bed of our desire ? " 

The virgin started from her seat, and with a shriek 
Fled back unhinder'd till she came into the vales of Har. 

G 2 


IN the MS. Note- book, to which frequent reference has been 
made in the Life, a page stands inscribed with the heading given 
above. It seems uncertain how much of the book's contents such 
title may have been meant to include ; but it is now adopted here 
as a not inappropriate summarizing endorsement for the precious 
section which here follows. In doing so, Mr. Swinburne's example 
(in his Essay on Blake) has been followed, as regards pieces drawn 
from the Note-book. 

The contents of the present section are derived partly from the 
Note-book in question, and partly from another small autograph col- 
lection of different matter, somewhat more fairly copied. The poems 
have been reclaimed, as regards the first-mentioned source, from as 
chaotic a mass as could well be imagined ; amid which it has some- 
times been necessary either to omit, transpose, or combine, so as to 
render available what was very seldom found in a final state. And 
even in the pieces drawn from the second source specified above, 
means of the same kind have occasionally been resorted to, where 
they seemed to lessen obscurity or avoid redundance. But with all 
this, there is nothing throughout that is not faithfully Blake's own. 

One piece in this series (The Two Songs) may be regarded as a 
different version of the Human Abstract, occurring in the Songs of 
Experience. This new form is certainly the finer one, I think, by 
reason of its personified character, which adds greatly to the force of 
the impression produced. It is, indeed, one of the finest things 
Blake ever did, really belonging, by its vivid completeness, to the order 
of perfect short poems, never a very large band, even when the best 
poets are ransacked to recruit it. Others among the longer poems 
of this section, which are, each in its own way, truly admirable, are 
Broken Love, Mary, and Auguries of Innocence, 

?:.::: IL-I 

c i inrr 1125 
be Las Irai: far disc: be 
i :.if : 

:::. :: 

izjf cr'^'Tonr; bis jaoaaAA Ikead inch 
missminll sic loot 

Ia <sH?> UDC IETF IT !** 

need ber paraon: too ? Ke cannot s 
rgrcm : Surerr i&r pboe is ready fa 
iarpveness a: frr:^. 

Tbe Crvsa: CaKtuf and *e Ma* 
ursDzzL rr5er of |HHJUju Tie fom 

^'~j^ '^C- mn r^*.~^ uTTi T ti^g 3DC T^*^ ^^^^ - 

~.i ; - . . :_r " : . : . " " ~ .- . i 

I : " r ~: - : ~ '-' - - ~~ M t i_T J " T ' 

was rsairr -mrrtf A xattker jafaaOn 

1^ ** - -^^ _ _ _ __~ _^ fc " . 

:': -1 I! : -/:" : . . . . I J ". : rr rt. r . I 

-.-;:.:- f .1 : -. \ _: -.: r -.- ::, .1 

' _-: -- -.: 


creature, half sentient and half conscious, has a world of its own 
akin in somewise to the country of its birth. 

The Mental Traveller seemed at first a hopeless riddle ; and the 
editor of these Selections must confess to having been on the point 
of omitting it, in spite of its high poetic beauty, as incomprehensible. 
He is again indebted to his brother for the clear sighted, and no 
doubt correct, exposition which is now printed with it, and brings its 
full value to light. 

The poem of Mary appears to be, on one side, an allegory of the 
poetic or spiritual mind moving unrecognised and reviled among its 
fellows; and this view of it is corroborated when we find Blake 
applying to himself two lines almost identically taken from it, in 
the last of the Letters to Mr. Butts printed in the Life. But the literal 
meaning may be accepted, too, as a hardly extreme expression of the 
rancour and envy so constantly attending pre-eminent beauty in 

A most noble, though surpassingly quaint example of Blake's 
loving sympathy with all forms of created life, as well as of the kind 
of oracular power which he possessed of giving vigorous expression 
to abstract or social truths, will be found in the Auguries of Innocence. 
It is a somewhat tangled skein of thought, but stored throughout 
with the riches of simple wisdom. 

Quaintness reaches its climax in William Bond, which may be 
regarded as a kind of glorified street- ballad. One point that requires 
to be noted is that the term * fairies ' is evidently used to indicate 
passionate emotions, while 'angels' are spirits of cold coercion. The 
close of the ballad is very beautiful. It is not long since there 
seemed to dawn on the present writer a meaning in this ballad not 
discovered before. Should we not connect it with the line In a 
Myrth Shade (page 118), the meaning of which is obvious to all 
knowers of Blake as bearing on marriage ? And may not ' William 
Bond ' thus be William Blake, the bondman of the ' lovely myrtle 
tree'? It is known that the shadow of jealousy, far from unfounded, 
fell on poor Catherine Blake's married life at one moment, and it has 
been stated that this jealousy culminated in a terrible and difficult 
crisis. We ourselves can well imagine that this ballad is but a literal 
relation, with such emotional actors, of some transfiguring trance and 
passion of mutual tears from which Blake arose no longer * bond ' 
to his myrtle-tree, but with that love, purged of all drossier element, 
whose last death : bed accent was, " Kate, you have ever been an 
angel to me ! " 


The ballad of William Bond has great spiritual beauties, whatever 
its meaning ; and it is one of only two examples, in this form, occurring 
among Blake's lyrics. The other is called Long John Brown and 
Little Mary Bell, and perhaps the reader may be sufficiently surprised 
without it. 

The shorter poems, and even the fragments, afford many instances 
of that exquisite metrical gift and Tightness in point of form which 
constitute Blake's special glory among his contemporaries, even 
more eminently perhaps than the grander command of mental re- 
sources which is also his. Such qualities of pure perfection in writing 
verse, as he perpetually, without effort, displayed, are to be met with 
among those elder poets whom he loved, and such again are now 
looked upon as the peculiar trophies of a school which has arisen 
since his time ; but he alone (let it be repeated and remembered) 
possessed them then, and possessed them in clear completeness. 
Colour and metre, these are the true patents of nobility in painting 
and poetry, taking precedence of all intellectual claims ; and it is by 
virtue of these, first of all, that Blake holds, in both arts, a rank which 
cannot be taken from him. 

Of the Epigrams on Art, which conclude this section, a few are 
really pointed, others amusingly irascible, all more or less a sort of 
nonsense verses, and not even pretending to be much else. To enter 
into their reckless spirit of doggrel, it is almost necessary to see the 
original note-book in which they occur, which continually testifies, by 
sudden exclamatory entries, to the curious degree of boyish impulse 
which was one of Blake's characteristics. It is not improbable that 
such names as Rembrandt, Reubens, Correggio, Reynolds, may have 
met the reader's eye before in a very different sort of context from 
that which surrounds them in the surprising poetry of this their 
brother artist ; and certainly they are made to do service here as 
scarecrows to the crops of a rather jealous husbandman. And for all 
that, I have my strong suspicions that the same amount of disparage- 
ment of them uttered to instead of by our good Blake, would have 
elicited, on his side, a somewhat different estimate. These phials of 
his wrath, however, have no poison but merely some laughing gas in 
them ; so now that we are setting the laboratory a little in order, let 
these, too, come clown from their dusty upper shelf. 



He. WHERE thou dwellest, in what grove, 
Tell me, fair one, tell me, love, 
Where thou thy charming nest dost build, 

thou pride of every field ! 

She. Yonder stands a lonely tree, 

There I live and mourn for thee ; 
Morning drinks my silent tear, 
And evening winds my sorrow bear. 

He. O thou summer's harmony, 

1 have lived and mourned for thee ; 
Each day I mourn along the wood, 
And night hath heard my sorrows loud. 

She. Dost thou truly long for me ? 
And am I thus sweet to thee ? 
Sorrow now is at an end, 
O my lover and my friend ! 

He. Come ! on wings of joy we'll fly 

To where my bower is hung on high ; 
Come, and make thy calm retreat 
Among ereen leaves and blossoms sweet. 



MY Spectre around me night and day 
Like a wild beast guards my way ; 
My Emanation far within 
Weeps incessantly for my sin. 

A fathomless and boundless deep, 
There we wander, there we weep ; 
On the hungry craving wind 
My Spectre follows thee behind. 

He scents thy footsteps in the snow, 
Wheresoever thou dost go ; 
Through the wintry hail and rain 
When wilt thou return again ? 

Poor pale, pitiable form 
That I follow in a storm, 
From sin I never shall be free 
Till thou forgive and come to me. 

A deep winter dark and cold 
Within my heart thou dost unfold ; 
Iron tears and groans of lead 
Thou binds't around my aching head. 


Dost thou not in pride and scorn 
Fill with tempests all my morn, 
And with jealousies and fears ? 
And fill my pleasant nights with tears ? 

O'er my sins thou dost sit and moan : 
Hast thou no sins of thine own ? 
O'er my sins thou dost sit and weep 
And lull thine own sins fast asleep. 


Thy weeping thou shalt ne'er give o'er ; 
I sin against thee more and more, 
And never will from sin be free 
Till thou forgive and come to me. 

What transgressions I commit 
Are for thy transgressions fit, 
They thy harlots, thou their slave ; 
And my bed becomes their grave. 

Seven of my sweet loves thy knife 
Hath bereaved of their life : 
Their marble tombs I built, with tears 
And with cold and shadowy fears. 

Seven more loves weep night and day 
Round the tombs where my loves lay, 
And seven more loves attend at night 
Around my couch with torches bright. 

And seven more loves in my bed 
Crown with vine my mournful head ; 
Pitying and forgiving all 
Thy transgressions, great and small. 


When wilt thou return, and view 
My loves, and them in life renew? 
When wilt thou return and live ? 
When wilt thou pity as I forgive ? 

Throughout all Eternity 

I forgive you, you forgive me. 

As our dear Redeemer said : 

* This the wine, and this the bread.' 



I HEARD an Angel singing 
When the day was springing: 
' Mercy, Pity, and Peace 
Are the world's release.' 

So he sang all day 
Over the new-mown hay, 
Till the sun went down, 
And haycocks looked brown. 

I heard a Devil curse 
Over the heath and the furze : 
' Mercy could be no more 
If there were nobody poor, 
And Pity no more could be 
If all were happy as ye : 
And mutual fear brings Peace. 
Misery's increase 
Are Mercy, Pity, Peace.' 

At his curse the sun went down, 
And the heavens gave a frown. 



I SAW a chapel all of gold 

That none did dare to enter in, 

And many weeping stood without, 
Weeping, mourning, worshipping. 

I saw a serpent rise between 
The white pillars of the door, 

And he forced and forced and forced 
Till he the golden hinges tore : 

And along the pavement sweet, 
Set with pearls and rubies bright, 

All his shining length he drew, 
Till upon the altar white 

He vomited his poison out 
On the bread and on the wine. 

So I turned into a sty, 

And laid me down among the swine.' 



WHY was Cupid a boy, 

And why a boy was he ? 
He should have been a girl, 

For aught that I can see. 

For he shoots with his bow, 
And the girl shoots with her eye. 

And they both are merry and glad, 
And laugh when we do cry. 

Then to make Cupid a boy 
Was surely a woman's plan, 

For a boy never learns so much 
Till he has become a man : 

And then he's so pierced with cares 
And wounded with arrowy smarts, 

That the whole business of his life 
Is to pick out the heads of the darts 




(Extracted from a Fragmentary Poem, entitled ' The 
Everlasting Gospel} 

THE vision of Christ that thou dost see 
Is my vision's greatest enemy. 
Thine is the fare of all mankind, 
Mine speaks in parables to the blind ; 
Thine loves the same world that mine hates ; 
Thy Heaven-doors are my Hell-gates. 
Socrates taught what Meletus 
Loathed as a nation's bitterest curse, 
And Caiaphas was in his own mind 
A benefactor to mankind. 
Both read the Bible day and night ; 
But thou read'st black where I read white. 
* * * * * 

Jesus sat in Moses' chair; 

They brought the trembling woman there ; 

Moses commands she be stoned to death ; 

What was the sound of Jesus' breath ? 

He laid His hand on Moses' law : 

The ancient heavens in silent awe, 

Writ with curses from pole to pole, 

All away began to roll. 

The earth trembling and naked lay, 

In secret bed of mortal clay, 

And she heard the breath of God 

As she heard it by Eden's flood : 


' To be good only, is to be 

'A God, or else a Pharisee. 

' Thou Angel of the Presence Divine, 

' That didst create this body of mine, 

1 Wherefore hast thou writ these laws 

1 And created Hell's dark jaws ? 

' Though thou didst all to chaos roll 

' With the serpent for its soul, 

' Still the breath Divine doth move, 

' And the breath Divine is Love. 

' Woman, fear not ; let me see 

' The seven devils that trouble thee ; 


' Hide not from my sight thy sin, 
'That full forgiveness thou may'st win. 
' Hath no man condemned thee ? ' 

' No man, Lord.' 

' Then what is he 

' Who shall accuse thee ? Come ye forth, 
',Ye fallen fiends of heavenly birth ! 
' Ye shall bow before her feet, 
' Ye shall lick the dust for meat ; 
' And though ye cannot love, but hate, 
' Ye shall be beggars at love's gate. 
' What was thy love ? Let me see't ! 
' Was it love, or dark deceit ? ' 
' Love too long from me hath fled ; 
' 'Twas dark deceit, to earn my bread ; 
' 'Twas covet, or 'twas custom, or 
' Some trifle not worth caring for. 
' But these would call a shame and sin 
' Love's temple that God dwelleth in.' 




NEVER seek to tell thy love, 
Love that never told can be ! 

For the gentle wind doth move 
Silently, invisibly. 

I told my love, I told my love, 
I told her all my heart, 

Trembling, cold, in ghastly fears. 
Ah ! she did depart. 

Soon after she was gone from me 

A traveller came by, 
Silently, invisibly : 

He took her with a sigh. 



As I wandered in the forest 
The green leaves among, 

I heard a wild-flower 
Singing a song. 

' I slept in the earth 

' In the silent night, 
' I murmured my fears 

'And I felt delight. 

' In the morning I went, 

' As> rosy as morn, 
' To seek for new joy, 

' But I met with scorn.' 

II 2 



THE maiden caught me in the wild, 
Where I was dancing merrily ; 

She put me into her cabinet, 

And locked me up with a golden key. 

This cabinet is formed of gold, 

And pearl and crystal shining bright, 

And within it opens into a world 
And a little, lovely, moony night. 

Another England there I saw, 
Another London with its Tower, 

Another Thames and other hills, 
And another pleasant Surrey bower. 

Another maiden like herself, 

Translucent, lovely, shining clear, 

Threefold, each in the other closed ; 
O what a pleasant trembling fear ! 

what a smile ! a threefold smile 
Filled me that like a flame I burned ; 

1 bent to kiss the lovely maid, 

And found * threefold kiss returned. 


I strove to seize the inmost form 

With ardour fierce and hands of flame, 

But burst the crystal cabinet, 

And like a weeping babe became. 

A weeping babe upon the wild, 
And weeping woman pale reclined, 

And in the outward air again 

I filled with woes the passing wind. 



THERE is a smile of Love, 

And there is a smile of Deceit, 

And there is a smile of smiles 
In which the two smiles meet. 

And there is a frown of Hate, 
And there is a frown of Disdain, 

And there is a frown of frowns 

Which you strive to forget in vain. 

For it sticks in the heart's deep core, 
And it sticks in the deep backbone. 

And no smile ever was smiled 
But. only one smile alone 

(And betwixt the cradle and grave 
It only once smiled can be), 

That when it once is smiled 
There's an end to all misery. 



BENEATH a white-thorn's lovely May, 

Three virgins at the break of day : 

' Whither, young man, whither away ? 

Alas for^ woe ! alas for woe ! ' 

They cry, and tears for ever flow. 

The first was clothed in flames of fire, 

The second clothed in iron wire ; 

The third was clothed in tears and sighs, 

Dazzling bright before my eyes. 

They bore a net of golden twine 

To hang upon the branches fine. 

Pitying I wept to see the woe 

That love and beauty undergo 

To be clothed in burning fires 

And in ungratified desires, 

And in tears clothed night and day ; 

It melted all my soul away. 

When they saw my tears, a smile 

That might heaven itself beguile 

Bore the golden net aloft, 

As on downy pinions soft, 

Over the morning of my day. 

Underneath the net I stray, 

Now intreating Flaming-fire, 

Now intreating Iron-wire, 

Now intreating Tears-and-sighs. 

O when will the morning rise ! 




' AWAKE, awake, my little boy ! 

Thou wast thy mother's only joy ; 

Why dost thou weep in thy gentle sleep ? 

wake! thy father doth thee keep. 

' O what land is the land of dreams ? 

What are its mountains and what are its streams ? 

' O father! I saw my mother there, 

Among the lilies by waters fair. 

' Among the lambs clothed in white, 

She walked with her Thomas in sweet delight. 

1 wept for joy, like a dove I mourn 

when shall I again return ! ' 

' Dear child ! I also by pleasant streams 

Have wandered all night in the land of dreams, 

But, though calm and warm the waters wide 

1 could not get to the other side/ 

* Father, O father ! what do we here, 
In this land of unbelief and fear ? 
The land of dreams is better far, 
Above the light of the morning star.' 



SWEET Mary, the first time she ever was there, 
Came into the ball-room among the fair ; 
The young men and maidens around her throng, 
And these are the words upon every tongue : 

' An angel is here from the heavenly climes, 
Or again return the golden times ; 
Her eyes outshine every brilliant ray, 
She opens her lips 'tis the month of May.' 

Mary moves in soft beauty and conscious delight, 
To augment with sweet smiles all the joys of the night, 
Nor once blushes to own to the rest of the fair 
That sweet love and beauty are worthy our care. 

In the morning the villagers rose with delight, 

And repeated with pleasure the joys of the night, 

And Mary arose among friends to be free, 

But no friend from henceforward thou, Mary, shalt see. 

Some said she was proud, some reviled her still more, 
And some when she passed by shut-to the door; 
A damp cold came o'er her, her blushes all fled, 
Her lilies and roses are blighted and shed. 

' O why was I born with a different face, 
Why was I not born like this envious race ? 
Why did heaven adorn me with bountiful hand, 
And then set me down in an envious land ? 


' To be weak as a lamb and smooth as a dove, 
And not to raise envy, is called Christian love ; 
But if you raise envy your merit's to blame 
For planting such spite in the weak and the tame, 

' 1 will humble my beauty, I will not dress fine, 

I will keep from the ball,' and my eyes shall not shine; 

And if any girl's lover forsakes her for me, 

I'll refuse him my hand and from envy be free.' 

She went out in the morning attired plain and neat ; 
' Proud Mary's gone mad,' said the child in the street ; 
She went out in the morning in plain neat attire, 
And came home in the evening bespattered with mire. 

She trembled and wept, sitting on the bed-side, 
She forgot it was night, and she trembled and cried ; 
She forgot it was night, she forgot it was morn, 
Her soft memory imprinted with faces of scorn. 

With faces of scorn and with eyes of disdain, 
Like foul fiends inhabiting Mary's mild brain ; 
She remembers no face like the human divine ; 
All faces have envy, sweet Mary, but thine. 

And thine is a face of sweet love in despair, 

And thine is a face of mild sorrow and care, 

And thine is a face of wild terror and fear 

That shall never be quiet till laid on its bier. 



To see a world in a grain of sand 
And a Heaven in a ivild floiver, 

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand 
And Eternity in an hour. 

A ROBIN Redbreast in a cage 

Puts all Heaven in a rage ; 

A dove-house rilled with doves and pigeons 

Shudders hell through all its regions ; 

A dog starved at his master's gate 

Predicts the ruin of the State ; 

A game-cock clipped and armed for fight 

Doth the rising sun affright ; 

A horse misused upon the road 

Calls to Heaven for human blood ; 

Every wolf's and lion's howl 

Raises from hell a human soul ; 

Each outcry of the hunted hare 

A fibre from the brain doth tear ; 

A skylark wounded on the wing 

Doth make a cherub cease to sing. 

He who shall hurt the little wren 
Shall never be beloved by men ; 
He who the ox to wrath has moved 
Shall never be by woman loved ; 


He who shall train the horse to war 
Shall never pass the Polar Bar ; 
The wanton boy that kills the fly 
Shall feel the spider's enmity ; 
He who torments the chafer's sprite 
Weaves a bower in endless night. 
The caterpillar on the leaf 
Repeats to thee thy mother's grief: 

The wild deer wandering here and there 
Keep the human soul from care : 
The lamb misused breeds public strife, 
And yet forgives the butcher's knife. 
Kill not the moth nor butterfly, 
For the last judgment draweth nigh ; 
The beggar's dog, and widow's cat, 
Feed them, and thou shalt grow fat. 
Every tear from every eye 
Becomes a babe in Eternity ; 
The bleat, the bark, bellow, and roar, 
Are waves, that beat on Heaven's shore. 

The bat that flits at close of eve 

Has left the brain that won't believe ; 

The owl that calls upon the night 

Speaks the unbeliever's fright ; 

The gnat that sings his summer's song 

Poison gets from slander's tongue 

The poison of the snake and newt 

Is the sweat of envy's foot; 

The poison of the honey bee 

Is the artist's jealousy ; 

The strongest poison ever known 

Came from Caesar's laurel-crown. 


Naught can deform the human race 

Like to the armourer's iron brace ; 

The soldier armed with sword and gun 

Palsied strikes the summer's sun ; 

When gold and gems adorn the plough, 

To peaceful arts shall envy bow ; 

The beggar's rags fluttering in air 

Do to rags the heavens tear; 

The prince's robes and beggar's rags 

Are toadstools on the miser's bags ; 

One mite wrung from the labourer's hands 

Shall buy and sell the miser's lands, 

Or, if protected from on high, 

Shall that whole nation sell and buy ; 

The poor man's farthing is worth more 

Than all the gold on Afric's shore. 

The whore and gambler, by the state 

Licensed, build that nation's fate ; 

The harlot's cry from street to street 

Shall weave old England's winding-sheet ; 

The winner's shout, the loser's curse, 

Shall dance before dead England's hearse. 

He who mocks the infant's faith 
Shall be mocked in age and death; 
He who shall teach the child to doubt 
The rotting grave shall ne'er get out; 
He who respects the infant's faith 
Triumphs over hell and death ; 
The babe is more than swaddling bands 
Throughout all these human lands ; 
Tools were made and born were hands, 
Every farmer understands. 
The questioner who sits so sly 
Shall never know how to reply; 


He who replies to words of doubt 

Doth put the light of knowledge out; 

A puddle, or the cricket's cry, 

Is to doubt a fit reply; 

The child's toys and the old man's reasons 

Are the fruits of the two seasons; 

The emmet's inch and eagle's mile 

Make lame philosophy to smile ; 

A truth that's told with bad intent 

Beats all the lies you can invent. 

He who doubts from what he sees 

Will ne'er believe, do what you please ; 

If the sun and moon should doubt, 

They'd immediately go out. 

Every night and every morn 
Some to misery are born; 
Every morn and every night 
Some are born to sweet delight; 
Some are born to sweet delight, 
Some are born to endless night. 
Joy and woe are woven fine, 
A clothing for the soul divine; 
Under every grief and pine 
Runs a joy with silken twine. 
It is right it should be so ; 
Man was made for joy and woe ; 
And when this we rightly know, 
Safely through the world we go. 

We are led to believe a lie 
When we see with not through the eye 
Which was born in a night to perish in a night 
When the soul slept in beams of light. 


God appears and God is light 

To those poor souls who dwell in night; 

But doth a human form display 

To those who dwell in realms of day. 



THE ' Mental Traveller ' indicates an explorer of mental phaeno- 
mena. The mental phaenomenon here symbolized seems to be the 
career of any great Idea or intellectual movement as, for instance, 
Christianity, chivalry, art, &c. represented as going through the 
stages of i. birth, 2. adversity and persecution, 3. triumph and 
maturity, 4. decadence through over-ripeness, 5. gradual transforma- 
tion, under new conditions, into another renovated Idea, which 
again has to pass through all the same stages. In other words, the 
poem represents the action and re-action of Ideas upon society, and 
of society upon Ideas. 

Argument of the stanzas: 2. The Idea, conceived with pain, is 
born amid enthusiasm. 3. If of masculine, enduring nature, it falls 
under the control and ban of the already existing state of society 
(the woman old). 5. As the Idea develops, the old society be- 
comes moulded into a new society (the old woman grows young). 
6. The Idea, now free and dominant, is united to society, as it were 
in wedlock. 8. It gradually grows old and effete, living now only 
upon the spiritual treasures laid up in the days of its early energy. 
10. These still subserve many purposes of practical good, and 
outwardly the Idea is in its most flourishing estate, even when 
sapped at its roots, u. The halo of authority and tradition, or 
prestige, gathering round the Idea, is symbolized in the resplendent 
babe born on his hearth. 13. This prestige deserts the] Idea itself, 
and attaches to some individual, who usurps the honour due only to 
the Idea (as we may see in the case of papacy, royalty, &c.) ; and 
the Idea is eclipsed by its own very prestige, and assumed living 
representative. 14. The Idea wanders homeless till it can find a 
new community to mould ('until he can a maiden win '). 15 to 17. 
Finding whom, the Idea finds itself also living under strangely different 


conditions. 18. The Idea is now " beguiled to infancy " becomes a 
new Idea, in working upon a fresh community, and under altered 
conditions, 20. Nor are they yet thoroughly at one ; she flees away 
while he pursues. 22. Here we return to the first state of the case. 
The Idea starts upon a new courseis a babe ; the society it works 
upon has become an old society no longer a fair virgin, but an 
aged woman. 24. The Idea seems so new and unwonted that, the 
nearer it is seen, the more consternation it excites. 26. None can 
deal with the Idea so as to develop it to the full, except the old 
society with which it comes into contact ; and this can deal with it 
only by misusing it at first, whereby (as in the previous stage, at 
the opening -of the poem) it is to be again disciplined into ultimate 

I TRAVELLED through a land of men, 
A land of men and women too ; 

And heard and saw such dreadful things 
As cold earth-wanderers never knew. 


For there the babe is born in joy 
That was begotten in dire woe ; 

Just as we reap in joy the fruit 
Which we in bitter tears did sow. 

And if the babe is born a boy, 

He's given to a woman old, 
Who nails him down upon a rock, 

Catches his shrieks in cups of gold. 

She binds strong thorns around his head, 

She pierces both his hands and feet, 
She cuts his heart out at his side, 

To make it feel both cold and heat. 



Her fingers number every nerve 

Just as a miser counts his gold ; 
She lives upon his shrieks and cries, 

And she grows young as he grows old. 

Till he becomes a bleeding youth, 

And she becomes a virgin bright ; 
Then he rends up his manacles 

And binds her down for his delight. 

He plants himself in all her nerves 

Just as a husbandman his mould, 
And she becomes his dwelling-place 

And garden fruitful seventyfold. 

An aged shadow soon he fades, 
Wandering round an earthly cot, 

Full filled all with gems and gold 
Which he by industry had got. 

And these are the gems of the human soul, 

The rubies and pearls of a lovesick eye, 
The countless gold of the aching heart, 

The martyr's groan and the lover's sigh. 


They are his meat, they are his drink ; 

He feeds the beggar and the poor ; 
To the wayfaring traveller 

For ever open is his door. 



His grief is their eternal joy, 

They make the roofs and walls to ring; 
Till from the fire upon the hearth 

A little female babe doth spring. 

And she is all of solid fire 

And gems and gold, that none his hand 
Dares stretch to touch her baby form 

Or wrap her in his swaddling band. 

But she comes to the man she loves, 
If young or old or rich or poor ; 

They soon drive out the aged host, 
A beggar at another's door. 


He wanders weeping far away, 
Until some other take him in ; 

Oft blind and age-bent, sore distress'd, 
Until he can a maiden win. 

And to allay his freezing age, 

The poor man takes her in his arms ; 

The cottage fades before his sight, 
The garden and its lovely charms. 

1 6. 

The guests are scattered through the land ; 

For the eye altering alters all; 
The senses roll themselves in fear, 

And the flat earth becomes a ball. 

I 2 


The stars, sun, moon, all shrink away, 
A desert vast without a bound, 

And nothing left to eat or drink, 
And a dark desert all around : 

1 8. 

The honey of her infant lips, 

The bread and wine of her sweet smile, 
The wild game of her roving eye, 

Do him to infancy beguile. 


For as he eats and drinks he grows 
Younger and younger every day, 

And on the desert wild they both 
Wander in terror and dismay. 


Like the wild stag she flees away ; 

Her fear plants many a thicket wild, 
While he pursues her night and day, 

By various arts of love beguiled. 


By various arts of love and hate, 
Till the wild desert's planted o'er 

With labyrinths of wayward love, 

Where roam the lion, wolf, and boar. 


Till he becomes a wayward babe, 
And she a weeping woman old ; 

Then many a lover wanders here, 
The sun and stars are nearer rolled ; 



The trees bring forth sweet ecstasy 

To all who in the desert roam ; 
Till many a city there is built, 

And many a pleasant shepherd's home. 


But when they find the frowning babe, 
Terror strikes through the region wide : 

They cry ' the babe the babe is born ! ' 
And flee away on every side. 


For who dare touch the frowning form, 

His arm is withered to its root : 
Bears, lions, wolves, all howling flee, 

And every tree doth shed its fruit. 


And none can touch that frowning form 

Except it be a woman old; 
She nails it down upon the rock, 

And all is done as I have told. 



To a lovely myrtle bound, 
Blossoms showering all around, 
O how weak and weary I 
Underneath my myrtle lie! 

Why should I be bound to thee, 
O my lovely myrtle tree ? 
Love, free love, cannot be bound 
To any tree that grows on ground. 



I WONDER whether the girls are mad, 

And I wonder whether they mean to kill, 

And I wonder if William Bond will die, 
For assuredly he is very ill. 

He went to church on a May morning, 
Attended by fairies, one, two, and three ; 

But the angels of Providence drove them away, 
And he returned home in misery. 

He went not out to the field nor fold, 
He went not out to the village nor town, 

But he came home in a black black cloud, 
And took to his bed, and there lay down. 

And an angel of Providence at his feet, 
And an angel of Providence at his head, 

And in the midst a black black cloud, 

And in the midst the sick man on his bed. 

And on his right hand was Mary Green, 
And on his left hand was his sister Jane, 

And their tears fell through the black black cloud 
To drive away the sick man's pain. 

' O William, if thou dost another love, 
Dost another love better than poor Mary, 

Go and take that other to be thy wife, 
And Mary Green shall her servant be.' 


'Yes, Mary, I do another love, 

Another I love far better than thee, 

And another I will have for my wife : 
Then what have I to do with thee ? 

' For thou art melancholy pale, 

And on thy head is the cold moon's shine, 
But she is ruddy and bright as day, 

And the sunbeams dazzle from her eyne.' 

Mary trembled, and Mary chilled, 

And Mary fell down on the right-hand floor, 
That William Bond and his sister Jane 

Scarce could recover Mary more. 

When Mary woke 'and found her laid 
On the right-hand of her William dear, 

On the right-hand of his loved bed, 
And saw her William Bond so near; 

The fairies that fled from William Bond 

Danced around her shining head ; 
They danced over the pillow white, 

And the angels of Providence left the bed. 

* I thought Love lived in the hot sunshine, 
But oh, he lives in the moony light ; 

I thought to find Love in the heat of day, 
But sweet Love is the comforter of night. 

' Seek Love in the pity of others' woe, 
In the gentle relief of another's care, 

In the darkness of night and the winter's snow, 
With the naked and outcast, seek Love there.' 



MOCK on, mock on, Voltaire, Rousseau, 
Mock on, mock on ; 'tis all in vain ; 

You throw the sand against the wind, 
And the wind blows it back again. 

And every sand becomes a gem 
Reflected in the beams divine ; 

Blown back, they blind the mocking eye, 
But still in Israel's paths they shine. 

The atoms of Democritus 

And Newton's particles of light 

Are sands upon the Red Sea shore 
Where Israel's tents do shine so bright. 



' I SEE, I see,' the mother said, 
' My children will die for lack of bread ! 
What more has the merciless tyrant said ? ' 
The monk sat him down on her stony bed. 

His eye was dry, no tear could flow, 

A hollow groan bespoke his woe ; 

He trembled and shuddered upon the bed ; 

At length with a feeble cry he said : 

'When God commanded this hand to write 
In the shadowy hours of deep midnight, 
He told me that all I wrote should prove 
The bane of all that on earth I love. 

' My brother starved between two walls, 
Thy children's crying my soul appals; 
I mocked at the rack and the griding chain, 
My bent body mocks at their torturing pain. 

' Thy father drew his sword in the north, 
With his thousands strong he is marched forth ; 
Thy brother hath armed himself in steel, 
To revenge the wrongs thy children feel. 

* But vain the sword, and vain the bow, 
They never can work war's overthrow ; 
The hermit's prayer and the widow's tear 
Alone can free the world from fear. 


' For a tear is an intellectual thing, 
And a sigh is the sword of an angel king ; 
And the bitter groan of a martyr's woe 
Is an arrow from the Almighty's bow. 

' The hand of vengeance found the bed 
To which the purple tyrant fled ; 
The iron hand crushed the tyrant's head, 
And became a tyrant in his stead.' 





To find the western path, 

Right through the gates of wrath 

I urge my way ; 
Sweet morning leads me on ; 
With soft repentant moan 

I see the break of day. 

The war of swords and spears, 
Melted by dewy tears, 

Exhales on high ; 
The sun is freed from fears, 
And with soft grateful tears 

Ascends the sky. 


WHY should I care for the men of Thames 
And the cheating waters of chartered streams ; 
Or shrink at the little blasts of fear 
That the hireling blows into mine ear? 

Though born on the cheating banks of Thames- 
Though his waters bathed my infant limbs 
The Ohio shall wash his stains from me ; 
I was born a slave, but I go to be free. 



ARE not the joys of morning sweeter 

Than the joys of night ? 
And are the vigorous joys of youth 

Ashamed of the light ? 

Let age and sickness silent rob 

The vineyard in the night ; 
But those who burn with vigorous youth 

Pluck fruits before the light. 


SINCE all the riches of this world 

May be gifts from the devil and earthly kings, 
I should suspect that I worshipped the devil 

If I thanked my God for worldly things. 

The countless gold of a merry heart, 
The rubies and pearls of a loving eye, 

The idle man never can bring to the mart 
Nor the cunning hoard up in his treasury. 



HE who bends to himself a joy 
Does the winged life destroy ; 
But he who kisses the joy as it flies 
Lives in eternity's sunrise. 

If you trap the moment before it's ripe, 
The tears of repentance you'll certainly wipe ; 
But if once you let the ripe moment go 
You can never wipe off the tears of woe. 


* THOU hast a lapful of seed 

And this a fair country. 
Why dost thou not cast thy seed 

And live in it merrily ? ' 

c Shall I cast it on the sand 

And turn it into fruitful land ? 

For on no other ground can I sow my seed 

Without tearing up some stinking weed.' 



I FEARED the fury of my wind 

Would blight all blossoms fair and true ; 
And my sun it shined and shined, 

And my wind it never blew. 

But a blossom fair or true 

Was not found on any tree ; 
For all blossoms grew and grew 

Fruitless, false, though fair to see. 


SILENT, silent Night, 
Quench the holy light 
Of thy torches bright ; 

For, possessed of Day, 
Thousand spirits stray 
That sweet joys betray. 

Why should joys be sweet 

Used with deceit, 

Nor with sorrows meet ? 

But an honest joy 
Doth itself destroy 
For a harlot coy. 



LOVE to faults is always blind, 

Always is to joy inclin'd, 

Lawless, winged and unconfin'd, 

And breaks all chains from every mind. 

Deceit, to secrecy inclin'd, 
Moves lawful, courteous and refin'd, 
To everything but interest blind, 
And forges fetters for the mind. 

There souls of men are bought and sold, 
And milk-fed infancy, for gold, 
And youth to slaughter-houses led, 
And beauty, for a bit of bread. 




I WALKED abroad on a snowy day, 
I asked the soft snow with me to play ; 
She played and she melted in all her prime ; 
And the winter called it a dreadful crime. 


Abstinence sows sand all over 

The ruddy limbs and flaming hair; 

But desire gratified 

Plants fruits of life and beauty there. 


The look of love alarms, 

Because 'tis filled with fire, 
But the look of soft deceit 

Shall win the lover's hire : 

Soft deceit and idleness, 
These are beauty's sweetest dress. 


To Chloe's breast young Cupid slily stole, 
But he crept in at Myra's pocket-hole. 

Great things are done when men and mountains meet; 
These are not done by jostling in the street. 




The errors of a wise man make your rule, 
Rather than the perfections of a fool. 


Some people admire the work of a fool, 
For it's sure to keep your judgment cool : 
It does not reproach you with want of wit ; 
It is not like a lawyer serving a writ. 


He's a blockhead who wants a proof of what he can't 

And he's a fool who tries to make such a blockhead 



If e'er I grow to man's estate, 

O give to me a woman's fate. 

May I govern all both great and small, 

Have the last word, and take the wall ! 


Her whole life is an epigram smack, smooth, and nobly 


Plaited quite neat to catch applause, with a strong noose 
at the end. 


To forgive enemies Hayley does pretend, 
Who never in his life forgave a friend. 


You say reserve and modesty he has 

Whose heart is iron, his head wood, and his face brass. 

The fox, the owl, the spider, and the bat 

By sweet reserve and modesty grow fat. 



An Answer to the Parson. 

Why of the sheep do you not learn peace ? 
Because I don't want you to shear my fleece. 



Here lies John Trot, the friend of all mankind ; 
He has not left one enemy behind. 
Friends were quite hard to find, old authors say; 
But now they stand in everybody's way. 


Grown old in love from seven till seven times seven, 
I oft have wished for hell, for ease from heaven. 


Prayers plough not, praises reap not, 
Joys laugh not, sorrows weep not. 


The Sword sang on the barren heath, 

The Sickle in the fruitful field ; 
The Sword he sang a song of death 

But could not make the Sickle yield. 


O Lapwing, thou fliest across the heath, 
Nor seest the net that is spread beneath : 
Why dost thou not fly among the corn-fields ? 
They cannot spread nets where a harvest yields. 


The Angel that presided o'er my birth 
Said : " Little creature, formed of joy and mirth, 
Go, love without the help of anything on earth." 

K 2 




I ASKED of my dear friend orator Prig : 
1 What's the first part of oratory ? ' He said : ' A great wig.' 
'And what is the second?' Then, dancing a jig 
And bowing profoundly, he said : ' A great wig.' 
' And what is the third ? ' Then he snored like a pig, 
And, puffing his cheeks out, replied : ' A great wig.' 
So if to a painter the question you push, 
' What's the first part of painting ? ' he'll say : ' A paint-brush.' 
' And what is the second ? ' with most modest blush, 
He'll smile like a cherub, and say : ' A paint-brush.' 
' And what is the third ? ' he'll bow like a rush, 
With a leer in his eye, and reply : ' A paint-brush.' 
Perhaps this is all a painter can want : 
But look yonder, that house is the house of Rembrandt. 


' O dear mother Outline, of wisdom most sage, 

What's the first part of painting ? ' She said : ' Patronage/ 

' And what is the second to please and engage ? ' 

She frowned like a fury, and said : ' Patronage.' 

' And what is the third ? ' She put off old age, 

And smiled like a syren, and said : ' Patronage.' 


On the great encouragement given by English Nobility and 
Gentry to Correggio, Rubens, Rembrandt, Reynolds, Gains- 
borough, Catalani, and Dilberry Doodle. 

Give pensions to the learned pig, 
Or the hare playing on a tabor; 

Anglus can never see perfection 
But in the journeyman's labour. 


As the ignorant savage will sell his own wife 

For a button, a bauble, a bead, or a knife, 

So the taught savage Englishman spends his whole fortune 

On a smear or a squall to destroy picture or tune : 

And I call upon Colonel Wardle 

To give these rascals a dose of caudle. 

All pictures that's painted with sense or with thought 
Are painted by madmen, as sure as a groat ; 
For the greater the fool, in the Art the more blest, 
And when they are drunk they always paint best. 
They never can Raphael it, Fuseli it, nor Blake it : 
If they can't see an outline, pray how can they make it ? 
All men have drawn outlines whenever they saw them;- 
Madmen see outlines, and therefore they draw them. 

Seeing a Rembrandt or Correggio, 

Of crippled Harry I think and slobbering Joe ; 

And then I question thus : Are artists' rules 

To be drawn from the works of two manifest fools ? 

Then God defend us from the Arts, I say; 

For battle, murder, sudden death, let's pray. 

Rather than be such a blind human fool, 

I'd be an ass, a hog, a worm, a chair, a stool. 

To English Connoisseurs. 

You must agree that Rubens was a fool, 
And yet you make him master of your school, 
And give more money for his slobberings 
Than you will give for Raphael's finest things. 
I understood Christ was a carpenter, 
And not a brewer's servant, my good Sir. 



Sir Joshua praises Michael Angelo ; 
'Tis Christian meekness thus to praise a foe : 
But 'twould be madness, all the world would say, 
Should Michael Angelo praise Sir Joshua. 
Christ used the Pharisees in a rougher way. 

To Flaxman. 

You call me mad ; 'tis folly to do so, 
To seek to turn a madman to a foe. 
If you think as you speak, you are an ass ; 
If you do not, you are but what you was. 

To the same. 

I mock thee not, though I by thee am mocked ; 
Thou call'st me madman, but I call thee blockhead, 


Thank God, I never was sent to school 
To be flogged into following the style of a fool ! 





OF the prose writings which now follow, the only ones already in 
print are the Descriptive Catalogue and the Sibylline Leaves. To the 
former of these, the Public Address, which here succeeds it, forms a 
fitting and most interesting pendant. It has been compiled from a 
very confused mass of MS. notes ; but its purpose is unmistakeable 
as having been intended as an accompaniment to the engraving 
of Chaucer's Pilgrims. Both the Catalogue and Address abound in 
critical passages on painting and poetry, which must be ranked with- 
out reserve among the very best things ever said on either subject. 
Such inestimable qualities afford quite sufficient ground whereon to 
claim indulgence for eccentricities which are here and there laughably 
excessive, but which never fail to have a personal, even where they 
have no critical, value. As evidence of the writer's many moods, 
these pieces of prose are much best left unmutilated. Let us, 
therefore, risk misconstruction in some quarters ; there are others 
where even the whimsical onslaughts on names no less great than 
those which the writer most highly honoured, and assertions as to this 
or that component quality of art being everything or nothing as 
it served the fiery plea in hand, will be discerned as the impatient 
extremes of a man who had his own work to do, which was of one 
kind, as he thought, against another, and who mainly did it too, in 
spite of that injustice without which no extremes might ever have 
been chargeable against him. And let us remember that, after all, 
having greatness in him, his practice of art included all great aims, 
whether they were such as his antagonistic moods railed against 
or no. 

The Vision is almost as much a manifesto of opinion- as either the 
Catalogue or Address. But its work is in a wider field, and one which, 
where it stretches beyond our own clear view, may not necessarily 
therefore have been a lost road to Blake himself. Certainly its 
grandeur and the sudden great things greatly said in it, as in all 


Blake's prose, constitute it an addition to our opportunities of com- 
muning with him, and one which we may prize highly. 

The constant decisive words in which Blake alludes, throughout 
these writings, to the plagiarisms of his contemporaries, are painful to 
read, and will be wished away ; but, still, it will be worth thinking 
whether their being said, or the need of their being said, is the 
greater cause for complaint. Justice, looking through surface accom- 
plishments, greater nicety and even greater occasional judiciousness 
of execution, in the men whom Blake compares with himself, still 
perceives these words of his to be true. In each style of the art of a 
period, and more especially in the poetic style, there is often some 
one central initiatory man, to whom personally, if not to the care of 
the world, it is important that his creative power should be held 
to be his own, and that his ideas and slowly perfected materials 
should not be caught up before he has them ready for his own use. 
Yet, consciously or unconsciously, such an one's treasures and pos- 
sessions are, time after time, while he still lives and needs them, sent 
forth to the world by others in forms from which he cannot perhaps 
again clearly claim what is his own, but which render the material 
useless to him henceforward. Hardly wonderful, after all, if for once 
an impetuous man of this kind is found raising the hue and cry, care- 
less whether people heed him or no. It is no small provocation, be 
sure, when the gazers hoot you as outstripped in your race, and you 
know all the time that the man ahead, whom they shout for, is only 
a flying thief. 



Being the ancient method of FRESCO PAINTING revived ; 



London : Printed by D. N. SHURY, 7, Berwick Street, Soho, for 
J. BLAKE, 28, Broad Street, Golden Square. 1809. 


I. One-third of the Price to be paid at the time of Purchase, and the remainder 
on Delivery. 

II. The Pictures and Drawings to remain in the Exhibition till its close, which 
will be the ztyh of September, 1809 : and the Picture of The Canterbury 
Pilgrims, -which is to be engraved, will be sold only on condition of its 
remaining in the Artist's hands twelve months, when it will be delivered to 
the Buyer. 

'-.*.- \ v , . . . 


The Spiritual Form of Nelson guiding Leviathan, in whose wreathing* 
are infolded the Nations of the Earth. 

CLEARNESS and precision have been the chief objects in painting 
these Pictures. Clear colours unmudded by oil, and firm and 
determinate lineaments unbroken by shadows, which ought to 
display and not to hide form, as is the practice of the latter 
Schools of Italy and Flanders. J 



The Spiritual Form of Pitt guiding Behemoth ; he is that Angel who, 

pleased to perform the Almighty's orders, rides on the whirlwind, 

directing the storms of war ; He is ordering the Reaper to reap the 

Vine of the Earth, and the Ploughman to plough up the Cities and 


THIS Picture also is a proof of the power of colours unsullied 
with oil or with any cloggy vehicle. Oil has falsely been supposed 
to give strength to colours : but a little consideration must show the 
fallacy of this opinion. Oil will not drink or absorb colour enough 
to stand the test of very little time and of the air. It deadens every 
colour it is mixed with, at its first mixture, and in a little time 

r becomes a yellow mask over all that it touches. Let the works of 
modern Artists since Rubens' time witness the villany of some one 
at that time, who first brought Oil Painting into general opinion and 
practice : since which we have never had a Picture painted that 

^:ould show itself by the side of an earlier production. Whether 
Rubens or Vandyke, or both, were guilty of this villany, is to be 
inquired in another work on Painting, and who first forged the silly 
story and known falsehood about John of Bruges inventing oil- 
colours : in the meantime let it be observed, that before Vandyke's 
time and in his time all the genuine Pictures are on Plaster or 
Whiting grounds, and none since. 

The two Pictures of Nelson and Pitt are compositions of a mytho- 
logical cast, similar to those Apotheoses of Persian, Hindoo, and 
Egyptian Antiquity, which are still preserved on rude monuments, 
being copies from some stupendous originals now lost, or perhaps 
buried till some happier age. The Artist having been taken in vision 
into the ancient republics, monarchies, and patriarchates of Asia, has 
seen those wonderful originals, called in the Sacred Scriptures the 
Cherubim, which were sculptured and painted on walls of Temples, 
Towers, Cities, Palaces, and erected in the highly cultivated States of 
Egypt, Moab, Edom, Aram, among the Rivers of Paradise being 
originals from which the Greeks and Hetrurians copied Hercules 
Farnese, Venus of Medicis, Apollo Belvedere, and all the grand 
works of ancient art. They were executed in a very superior style 
to those justly admired copies, being with their accompaniments 
terrific and grand in the highest degree. The Artist has endeavoured 


to emulate the grandeur of those seen in his vision, and to apply it 
to modern Heroes, on a smaller scale. 

No man can believe that either Homer's Mythology, or Ovid's, 
was the production of Greece, or of Latium ; neither will any one 
believe that the Greek statues, as they are called, were the invention 
of Greek Artists ; perhaps the Torso is the only original work re- 
maining ; all the rest are evidently copies, though fine ones, from 
greater works of the Asiatic Patriarchs. The Greek Muses are"* 
daughters of Mnemosyne or Memory, and not of Inspiration or 
Imagination, therefore not authors of such sublime conceptions. 
Those wonderful originals seen in my visions were some of them 
one hundred feet in height; some were painted as pictures, and 
some carved as basso-relievos, and some as groups of statues, all 
containing mythological and recondite meaning, where more is meant 
than meets the eye. The Artist wishes it was now the fashion to^ 
make such monuments, and then he should not doubt of having a 
national commission to execute these two Pictures on a scale that is 
suitable to the grandeur of the nation, who is the parent of his heroes, 
in high-finished fresco, where the colours would be as pure and as 
permanent as precious stones though the figures' were one hundred 
feet in height. 

All Frescoes are as high-finished as miniatures or enamels, and 
they are known to be unchangeable ; but oil, being a body itself, will 
drink or absorb very little colour, and, changing yellow, and at length 
brown, destroys every colour it is mixed with, especially every delicate 
colour. It turns every permanent white to a yellow and brown putty, 
and has compelled the use of that destroyer of colour, white-lead, 
which, when its protecting oil is evaporated, will become lead again. 
This is an awful thing to say to Oil Painters ; they may call it mad- 
ness, but it is true. All the genuine old little Pictures, called Cabinet 
Pictures, are in fresco and not in oil. Oil was not used, except by 
blundering ignorance, till after Vandyke's time ; but the art of fresco- 
painting being lost, oil became a fetter to genius and a dungeon to 
art. But one convincing proof among many others that these 
assertions are true is, that real gold and silver cannot be used with 
oil, as they are in all the old pictures and in Mr. B.'s frescoes. 



Sir Jeffery Chaucer and the Nine-and-twenty Pilgrims on their journey 
to Canterbury. 

THE time chosen is early morning, before sunrise, when the jolly 
company are just quitting the Tabarde Inn. The Knight and 
Squire with the Squire's Yeoman lead the Procession ; next follow the 
youthful Abbess, her nun, and three priests ; her greyhounds attend 


' Of small hounds had she that she fed 
With roast flesh, milk, and wastel bread.' 

Next follow the Friar and Monk ; then the Tapiser, the Pardoner, 
and the Sompnour and Manciple. After these 'Our Host/ who 
occupies the centre of the cavalcade, directs them to the Knight as 
the person who would be likely to commence their task of each 
telling a tale in their order. After the Host follow the Shipman, 
the Haberdasher, the Dyer, the Franklin, the Physician, the Plough- 
man, the Lawyer, the Poor Parson, the Merchant, the Wife of Bath, 
the Miller, the Cook, the Oxford Scholar, Chaucer himself ; and the 
Reeve comes as Chaucer has described, 

'And ever he rode hinderest of the rout.' 

These last are issuing from the gateway of the Inn ; the Cook and 
the Wife of Bath are both taking their morning's draught of comfort. 
Spectators stand at the gateway of the Inn, and are composed of an 
old Man, a Woman, and Children. 

^ The Landscape is an eastward view of the country, from the 
Tabarde Inn in Southwark, as it may be supposed to have appeared 
in Chaucer's time; interspersed with cottages and villages. The 
first beams of the Sun are seen above the horizon ; some buildings 
and spires indicate the situation of the Great City. The Inn is a 
Gothic building, which Thynne in his Glossary says was the lodging 
of the Abbot of Hyde, by Winchester. On the Inn is inscribed its 
title, and a proper advantage is taken of this circumstance to describe 
the subject of the Picture. The words written over the gateway of 
the Inn are as follow : ' The Tabarde Inn, by Henry Baillie, the 
lodgynge-house for Pilgrims who journey to St. Thomas's Shrine at 



The characters of Chaucer's Pilgrims are the characters which 
compose all ages and nations. As one age falls, another rises, 
different to mortal sight, but to immortals only the same; for we 
see the same characters repeated again and again, in animals, 
vegetables, minerals, and in men. Nothing new occurs in 
identical existence ; Accident ever varies, Substance can never 
suffer change nor decay. 

Of Chaucer's characters, as described in his Canterbury Tales, 
some of the names or titles are altered by time, but the characters 
themselves for ever remain unaltered ; and consequently they are the 
physiognomies or lineaments of universal human life, beyond which 
Nature never steps. Names alter, things never alter. I have known 
multitudes of those who would have been monks in the age of 
monkery, who in this deistical age are deists. As Newton numbered 
the stars, and as Linnaeus numbered the plants, so Chaucer numbered 
the classes of men. 

The Painter has consequently varied the heads and forms of his 
personages into all Nature's varieties ; the Horses he has also varied 
to accord to their Riders : the Costume is correct according to 
authentic monuments. 

The Knight and Squire with the Squire's Yeoman lead the proces- 
sion, as Chaucer has also placed them first in his prologue. The Knight 
is a true Hero, a good, great, and wise man ; his whole-length portrait 
on horseback, as written by Chaucer, cannot be surpassed. He has 
spent his life in the field, has ever been a conqueror, and is that 
species of character which in every age stands as the guardian of 
man against the oppressor. His son is like him, with the germ of 
perhaps greater perfection still, as he blends literature and the arts 
with his warlike studies. Their dress and their horses are of the 
first rate, without ostentation, and with all the true grandeur that un- 
affected simplicity, when in high rank, always displays. The Squire's 
Yeoman is also a great character, a man perfectly knowing in his 
profession : 

'And in his hand he bare a mighty bow.' 

Chaucer describes here a mighty man, one who in war is the worthy 
attendant on noble heroes. 

The Prioress follows these with her female chaplain : 

'Another Nonne also with her had she, 
That was her Ch.ipelaine, and Pnestes three.' 


This Lady is described also as of the first rank, rich and honoured. 
She has certain peculiarities and little delicate affectations, not 
unbecoming in her, being accompanied with what is truly grand 
and really polite ; her person and face Chaucer has described with 
minuteness ; it is very elegant, and was the beauty of our ancestors 
till after Elizabeth's time, when voluptuousness and folly began to 
be accounted beautiful. 

Her companion and her three priests were no doubt all perfectly 
delineated in those parts of Chaucer's work which are now lost ; we 
ought to suppose them suitable attendants on rank and fashion. 

The Monk follows these with the Friar. The Painter has also 
grouped with these the Pardoner and the Sompnour and the 
Manciple, and has here also introduced one of the rich citizens of 
London ; characters likely to ride in company, all being above 
the common rank in life, or attendants on those who were so. 

For the Monk is described, by Chaucer, as a man of the first rank 
in society, noble, rich, and expensively attended : he is a leader of 
the age, with certain humorous accompaniments in his character, that 
do not degrade, but render him an object of dignified mirth, but also 
with other accompaniments not so respectable. 

The Friar is a character also of a mixed kind : 

' A friar there was, a wanton and a merry ; ' 

but in his office he is said to be a ' full solemn man : ' eloquent, 
amorous, witty, and satirical ; young, handsome, and rich ; he is a 
complete rogue ; with constitutional gaiety enough to make him a 
master of all the pleasures of the world : 

* His neck was white as the fleur de lis, 
Thereto strong he was as a champioun.' 

It is necessary here to speak of Chaucer's own character, that I 
may set certain mistaken critics right in their conception of the 
humour and fun that occur on the journey. Chaucer is himself the 
great poetical observer of men, who in every age is born to record 
and eternize its acts. This he does as a master, as a father and 
superior, who looks down on their little follies from the Emperor to 
the Miller : sometimes with severity, oftener with joke and sport. 

Accordingly Chaucer has made his Monk a great tragedian, one 
who studied poetical art. So much so that the generous Knight is, 
in the compassionate dictates of his soul, compelled to cry out : 





'Ho,' quoth the Knyght, 'good Sir, no more of this; 
That ye have said is right ynough, I wis, 
And mokell more ; for little heaviness 
Is right enough for much folk, as I guess. 
I say, for me, it is a great disease, 
Whereas men have been in wealth and ease, 
To heare of their sudden fall, alas ! 
And the contrary is joy and solas.' 

The Monk's definition of tragedy in the proem to his tale is worth 
repeating : 

'Tragedy is to tell a certain story, 
As olde books us maken memory, 
Of them that stood in great prosperity, 
And be fallen out of high degree, 
Into misery, and ended wretchedly.' 

Though a man of luxury, pride, and pleasure, he is a master of art 
and learning, though affecting to despise it. Those who can think 
that the proud Huntsman and noble Housekeeper, Chaucer's Monk, 
is intended for a buffoon or burlesque character, know little of 

For the Host who follows this group, and holds the centre of the 
cavalcade, is a first-rate character, and his jokes are no trifles ; they 
are always, though uttered with audacity, equally free with the Lord 
and the Peasant; they are always substantially and weightily 
expressive of knowledge and experience ; Henry Baillie, the keeper 
of the greatest Inn of the greatest City ; for such was the Tabarde 
Inn in Southwark, near London : our Host was also a leader of 
the age. 

By way of illustration, I instance Shakspeare's Witches in Macbeth. 
Those who dress them for the stage, consider them as wretched old 
women, and not, as Shakspeare intended, the Goddesses of Destiny ; 
this shows how Chaucer has been misunderstood in his sublime work. 
Shakspeare's Fairies also are the rulers of the vegetable world, and 
so are Chaucer's ; let them be so considered, and then the poet will 
be understood, and not else. 

But I have omitted to speak of a very prominent character, the 
Pardoner, the Age's Knave, who always commands and domineers 
over the high and low vulgar. This man is sent in every age for a 
rod and scourge and for a blight, for a trial of men, to divide the 
classes of men ; he is in the most holy sanctuary, and he is suffered 
by Providence for wise ends, and has also his great use, and his 
grand leading destiny. 



His companion the Sompnour is also a Devil of the first magni- 
tude, grand, terrific, rich, and honoured in the rank of which he holds 
the destiny. The uses to society are perhaps equal of the Devil and 
of the Angel ; their sublimity, who can dispute ? 

' In daunger had he at his owne guise, 
The younge girles of his diocese, 
And he knew well their counsel, &c.' 

The principal figure in the next group is the Good Parson : an 
Apostle, a real Messenger of Heaven, sent in every age for its light 
and its warmth. This man is beloved and venerated by all, and 
neglected by all : he serves all, and is served by none. He is, 
according to Christ's definition, the greatest of his age : yet he is a 
Poor Parson of a town. Read Chaucer's description of the Good 
Parson, and bow the head and the knee to Him, Who, in every age, 
sends us such a burning and a shining light. Search, O ye rich and 
powerful, for these men and obey their counsel; then shall the 
golden age return. But alas ! you will not easily distinguish him 
from the Friar or the Pardoner ; they also are l full solemn men,' 
and their counsel you will continue to follow. 

I have placed by his side the Sergeant-at-Lawe, who appears de- 
lighted to ride in his company, and between him and his brother the 
Ploughman ; as I wish men of Law would always ride with them, 
and take their counsel, especially in all difficult points. Chaucer's 
Lawyer is a character of great venerableness, a Judge, and a real 
master of the jurisprudence of his age. 

The Doctor of Physic is in this group, and the Franklin, the 
voluptuous country gentleman ; contrasted with the Physician, and, on 
his other hand, with two Citizens of London. Chaucer's characters 
live age after age. Every age is a Canterbury Pilgrimage ; we all 
pass on, each sustaining one or other of these characters ; nor can 
a child be born who is not one of these characters of Chaucer. 
The Doctor of Physic is described as the first of his profession : 
perfect, learned, completely Master and Doctor in his art. Thus the 
reader will observe that Chaucer makes every one of his characters 
perfect in his kind ; every one is an Antique Statue, the image of a 
class, and not of an imperfect individual. 

This group also would furnish substantial matter, on which volumes 
might be written. The Franklin is one who keeps open table, who 
is the genius of eating and drinking, the Bacchus ; as the Doctor of 
Physic is the ^Esculapius, the Host is the Silenus, the Squire is the 


Apollo, the Miller is the Hercules, &c. Chaucer's characters are a 
description of the eternal Principles that exist in all ages. The 
Franklin is voluptuousness itself most nobly portrayed : 

'It snewed in his house of meat and drink.' 

The Ploughman is simplicity itself, with wisdom and strength for 
its stamina. Chaucer has divided the ancient character of Hercules 
between his Miller and his Ploughman. Benevolence is the Plough- 
man's great characteristic ; he is thin with excessive labour, and not 
with old age, as some have supposed : 

* He woulde thresh, and thereto dike and delve, 
For Christe's sake, for every poore wight, 
Withouten hire, if it lay in his might.' 

Visions of these eternal principles or characters of human life 
appear to poets in all ages ; the Grecian gods were the ancient 
Cherubim of Phoenicia; but the Greeks, and since them the Moderns, 
have neglected to subdue the gods of Priam. These Gods are visions 
of the eternal attributes, or divine names, which, when erected into 
gods, become destructive to humanity. They ought to be the 
servants, and not the masters, of man or of society. They ought to 
be made to sacrifice to Man, and not man compelled to sacrifice to 
them ; for, when separated from man or humanity, who is Jesus the 
Saviour, the vine of eternity? They are thieves and rebels, they 
are destroyers. 

The Ploughman of Chaucer is Hercules in his supreme eternal 
state, divested of his spectrous shadow; which is the Miller, a 
terrible fellow, such as exists in all times and places, for the trial 
of men, to astonish every neighbourhood with brutal strength and 
courage, to get rich and powerful, to curb the pride of Man. 

The Reeve and the Manciple are two characters of the most 
consummate worldly wisdom. The Shipman, or Sailor, is a similar 
genius of Ulyssean art, but with the highest courage superadded. 

The Citizens and their Cook are each leaders of a class. Chaucer 
has been somehow made to number four citizens, which would make 
his whole company, himself included, thirty-one. But he says there 
were but nine-and-twenty in his company : 

'Full nine-and-twenty in a company.' 

The Webbe, or Weaver, and the Tapiser, or Tapestry Weaver, 
appear to me to be the same person ; but this is only an opinion, 

L 2 


for full nine-and-twenty may signify one more or less. But I daresay 
that Chaucer wrote ' A Webbe Dyer,' that is a Cloth Dyer : 

'A Webbe Dyer and a Tapiser.' 

The Merchant cannot be one of the Three Citizens, as his dress is 
different, and his character is more marked, whereas Chaucer says 
of his rich citizens : 

'All were yclothed in one liverie.' 

The characters of Women Chaucer has divided into two classes, 
the Lady Prioress and the Wife of Bath. Are not these leaders of 
the ages of men ? The Lady Prioress in some ages predominates, 
and in some the Wife of Bath, in whose character Chaucer has been 
equally minute and exact ; because she is also a scourge and a 
blight I shall say no more of her, nor expose what Chaucer has 
left hidden ; let the young reader study what he has said of her : it 
is useful as a scarecrow. There are of such characters born too 
many for the peace of the world. 

I come at length to the Clerk of Oxenford. This character varies 
from that of Chaucer, as the contemplative philosopher varies from 
the poetical genius. There are always these two classes of learned 
sages, the poetical and the philosophical. The Painter has put them 
side by side, as if the youthful clerk had put himself under the 
tuition of the mature poet. Let the Philosopher always be the 
servant and scholar of Inspiration, and all will be happy. 

Such are the characters that compose this Picture, which was 
painted in self-defence against the insolent and envious imputation 
of unfitness for finished and scientific art, and this imputation most 
artfully and industriously endeavoured to be propagated among the 
public by ignorant hirelings. The Painter courts comparison with 
his competitors, who, having received fourteen hundred guineas and 
more from the profits of his designs in that well-known work, 
Designs for Blair's Grave, have left him to shift for himself; while 
others, more obedient to an employer's opinions and directions, are 
employed, at a great expense, to produce works in succession to his 
by which they acquired public patronage. This has hitherto been 
his lot to get patronage for others and then to be left and neglected, 
and his work, which gained that patronage, cried down as eccen- 
tricity and madness as unfinished and neglected by the artist's 
violent temper : he is sure the works now exhibited will give the lie 
to such aspersions. 

Those who say that men are led by interest are knaves. A knavish 


character will often say, Of what interest is it to me to do so and so ? 
I answer, of none at all, but the contrary, as you well know. It is 
of malice and envy that you have done this ; hence I am aware of 
you, because I know that you act not from interest but from malice, 
even to your own destruction. It is therefore become a duty which 
Mr. B. owes to the Public, who have always recognised him and 
patronised him, however hidden by artifices, that he should not suffer 
such things to be done, or be hindered from the public Exhibition 
of his finished productions by any calumnies in future. 

The character and expression in this Picture could never have" 11 
been produced with Rubens' light and shadow, or with Rembrandt's, 
or anything Venetian or Flemish. The Venetian and Flemish prac- 
tice is broken lines, broken masses, and broken colours: Mr. B.'s 
practice is unbroken lines, unbroken masses, and unbroken colours. 
Their art is to lose form ; his art is to find form, and to keep it. 
His arts are opposite to theirs in all things. j 

As there is a class of men whose whole delight is in the destruc-"l 
tion of men, so there is a class of artists whose whole art and science 
is fabricated for the purpose of destroying Art. Who these are is soon 
known : ' by their works ye shall know them.' All who endeavour 
to raise up a style against Raphael, Michael Angelo, and the 
Antique ; those who separate Painting from Drawing ; who look if a 
picture is well Drawn, and, if it is, immediately cry out that it 
cannot be well Coloured those are the men. ^ 

But to show the stupidity of this class of men, nothing need be 
done but to examine my rival's prospectus. 

The two first characters in Chaucer, the Knight and the Squire, he 
has put among his rabble ; and indeed his prospectus calls the Squire 
1 the fop of Chaucer's age.' Now hear Chaucer : 

* Of his Stature, he was of even length, 
And wonderly deliver, and of great strength ; 
And he had been sometime in chivauchy, 
In Flanders, in Artois, and in Picardy, 
And borne him well as of so litele space.' 

Was this a fop ? 

' Well could he sit a horse, and f aire ride, 
He could songs make, and eke well indite, 
Joust, and eke dance, portray, and well write.' 

Was this a fop ? 

' Curteis he was, and meek, and serviceable ; 

And kerft before his fader at the table.' 

-v& jdm""***-* 
Was/** * fop? 


It is the same with all his characters ; he has done all by chance, 
or perhaps his fortune, money, money. According to his prospectus 
he has Three Monks ; these he cannot find in Chaucer, who has 
only One Monk, and that no vulgar character, as he has endeavoured 
to make him. When men cannot read, they should not pretend to 
paint. To be sure Chaucer is a little difficult to him who has only 
blundered over novels and catch-penny trifles of booksellers ; yet a 
little pains ought to be taken, even by the ignorant and weak. He 
has put the Reeve, a vulgar fellow, between his Knight and Squire, 
as if he was resolved to go contrary in everything to Chaucer, who 
says of the Reeve 

'And ever he rode hinderest of the rout.' 

In this manner he has jumbled his dumb dollies together, and is 
praised by his equals for it ; for both himself and his friend are 
equally masters of Chaucer's language. They both think that the 

Wife of Bath is a young beautiful blooming damsel; and H 

says, that she is the ' Fair Wife of Bath,' and that ' the Spring appears 
in her cheeks.' Now hear what Chaucer has made her say of herself, 
who is no modest one : 

* But Lord ! when it remembereth me 
Upon my youth and on my jollity, 
It tickleth me about the hearte root. 
Unto this day it doth my hearte boot 
That I have had my world as in my time; 

; But age, alas, that all will envenime, 
Hath me bireft, my beauty and my pith 

\ Let go ; farewell ! the devil go therewith ! 
The flour is gone, there is no more to telU 
The bran, as best I can, I now mote sell; 
And yet, to be right merry, will I fond 
Now forth to telle of my fourth husbond.' 

She has had four husbands, a fit subject for this painter ; yet the 

painter ought to be very much offended with his friend H , who 

has called his ' a common scene,' and ' very ordinary forms ; ' which 
is the truest part of all, for it is so, and very wretchedly so indeed. 
What merit can there be in a picture of which such words are spoken 
with truth ? 

But the prospectus says that the Painter has represented Chaucer 
himself as a knave who thrusts himself among honest people to make 
game of and laugh at them ; though I must do justice to the Painter, 
and say that he has made him look more like a fool than a knave. 


But it appears in all the writings of Chaucer, and particularly in his 
Canterbury Tales, that he was very devout, and paid respect to true 
enthusiastic superstition. He has laughed at his knaves and fools 
as I do now. But he has respected his True Pilgrims, who are a 
majority of his company, and are not thrown together in the random 

manner that Mr. S has done. Chaucer has nowhere called the 

Ploughman old, worn out with ' age and labour,' as the prospectus 
has represented him, and says that the picture has done so too. He 
is worn down with labour, but not with age. How spots of brown 
and yellow, smeared about at random, can be either young or old, 
I cannot see. It may be an old man ; it may be a young one ; it 
may be anything that a prospectus pleases. But I know that where 
there are no lineaments there can be no character. And what con- 
noisseurs call touch, I know by experience, must be the destruction 
of all character and expression, as it is of every lineament. 

The scene of Mr. S 's Picture is by Dulwich Hills, which was 

not the way to Canterbury ; but perhaps the Painter thought he would 
give them a ride round about, because they were a burlesque set of 
scarecrows, not worth any man's respect or care. 

But the Painter's thoughts being always upon gold, he has intro- 
duced a character that Chaucer has not namely, a Goldsmith, for 
so the prospectus tells us. Why he has introduced a Goldsmith, and 
what is the wit of it, the prospectus does not explain. But it takes 
care to mention the reserve and modesty of the Painter ; this makes 
a good epigram enough : 

'The fox, the mole, the beetle, and the bat, 
By sweet reserve and modesty get fat.' 

But the prospectus tells us that the Painter has introduced a ' Sea 
Captain ; ' Chaucer has a Shipman, a Sailor, a Trading Master of a 
Vessel, called by courtesy Captain, as every master of a boat is ; 
but this does not make him a Sea Captain. Chaucer has purposely 
omitted such a personage, as it only exists in certain periods : it is 
the soldier by sea. He who would be a soldier in inland nations is 
a sea-captain in commercial nations. 

All is misconceived, and its mis-execution is equal to its miscon- 
ception. I have no objection to Rubens and Rembrandt being 
employed, or even to their living in a palace ; but it sha.ll not be at 
the expense of Raphael and Michael Angelo living in a cottage, and 
in, contempt and derision. I have been scorned long enough by 


these fellows, who owe to me all that they have ; it shall be so no 
longer : 

I found them blind, I taught them how to see ; 

And now they know neither themselves nor me. 

The Bard, from Gray. 

On a rock, whose haughty brow 
Frown'd o'er old Conway's foaming flood, 
Robed in the sable garb of woe, 
With haggard eyes the Poet stood : 
Loose his beard and hoary hair 
Stream'd like a meteor to the troubled air. 

Weave the warp, and weave the woof, 
The winding-sheet of Edward's race. 

WEAVING the winding-sheet of Edward's race by means of sounds 
of spiritual music, and its accompanying expressions of articulate 
speech, is a bold, and daring, and most masterly conception, that 

*the public have embraced and approved with avidity. Poetry con- 
sists in these conceptions; and shall Painting be confined to the 
sordid drudgery of fac-simile representations of merely mortal and 
perishing subsjtances, and not be, as poetry and music are, elevated 
into its own proper sphere of invention and visionary conception ? 
No, it shall not be so ! Painting, as well as poetry and musk, exists 

v and exults in immortal thoughts. If Mr. B.'s Canterbury Pilgrims 
had been done by any other power than that of the poetic visionary, 
it would have been as dull as his adversary's. 

The Spirits of the murdered bards assist in weaving the deadly 


With me in dreadful harmony they join, 

And weave, with bloody hands, the tissue of thy line. 

The connoisseurs and artists who have made objections to Mr. 
B.'s mode of representing spirits with real bodies would do well to 
consider that the Venus, the Minerva, the Jupiter, the Apollo, which 
they admire in Greek statues, are all of them representations of 
spiritual existences, of Gods immortal, to the mortal perishing organ 
of sight ; and yet they are embodied and organised in solid marble. 
Mr. B. requires the same latitude, and all is well. The Prophets 



describe what they saw in Vision as real and existing men whom 
they saw with their imaginative and immortal organs ; the Apostles 
the same ; the clearer the organ the more distinct the object. A 
Spirit and a Vision are not, as the modern philosophy supposes, a 
cloudy vapour or a nothing : they are organised and minutely arti- 
culated beyond all that the mortal and perishing nature can produce. 
He who does not imagine in stronger and better lineaments, and in 
stronger and better light, than his perishing and mortal eye can see, 
does not imagine at all. The painter of this work asserts that all 
his imaginations appear to him infinitely more perfect and more 
minutely organised than anything seen by his mortal eye. Spirits 
are organised men : Moderns wish to draw figures without lines, and 
with great and heavy shadows ; are not shadows more unmeaning 
than lines, and more heavy ? Oh, who can doubt this ? 

King Edward and his Queen Eleanor are prostrated, with their 
horses, at the foot of a rock on which the Bard stands ; prostrated 
by the terrors of his harp, on the margin of the River Conway, 
whose waves bear up a corse of a slaughtered bard at the foot of 
the rock. The armies of Edward are seen winding among the 
mountains : 

1 He wound with toilsome march his long array.' 

Mortimer and Gloucester lie spell-hound behind their king. 

The execution of this Picture is also in Water-colours, or 

The Ancient Britons. 

In the last Battle of King Arthur only Three Britons escaped ; these 
were the Strongest Man, the Beautifullest Man, and the Ugliest Man : 
these three marched through the field unsubdued, as Gods, and the 
Sun of Britain set, but shall arise again with tenfold splendour 
when Arthur shall awake from sleep, and resume his dominion over 
earth and ocean. 

THE three general classes of men who are represented by the 
most Beautiful, the most Strong, and the most Ugly, could not be 
represented by any historical facts but those of our own country, 
the Ancient Britons, without violating costume. The Britons (say 


historians) were naked civilized men, learned, studious, abstruse in 
thought and contemplation ; naked, simple, plain, in their acts and 
manners ; wiser than after-ages. They were overwhelmed by 
brutal arms, all but . a small remnant ; Strength, Beauty, and 
Ugliness escaped the wreck, and remain for ever unsubdued, age 
after age. 

The British Antiquities are now in the Artist's hands ; all his 
visionary contemplations relating to his own country and its ancient 
glory, when it was, as it again shall be, the source of learning and 
inspiration (Arthur was a name for the constellation Arcturus, or 
Bootes, the Keeper of the North Pole) ; and all the fables of Arthur 
and his Round Table; of the warlike naked Britons; of Merlin ; of 
Arthur's conquest of the whole world ; of his death, or sleep, and 
promise to return again ; of the Druid monuments, or temples ; of 
the pavement of Watling- street ; of London stone ; of the Caverns 
in Cornwall, Wales, Derbyshire, and Scotland; of the Giants of 
Ireland and Britain ; of the elemental beings, called by us by the 
general name of Fairies ; and of these three who escaped, namely, 
Beauty, Strength, and Ugliness. Mr. B. has in his hands poems of 
the highest antiquity. Adam was a Druid, and Noah ; also Abraham 
was called to succeed the Druidical age, which began to turn allegoric 
and mental signification into corporeal command, whereby human 
sacrifice Would have depopulated the earth. All these things are 
written in Eden. The Artist is an inhabitant of that happy country ; 
and if everything goes on as it has begun, the world of vegetation 
and generation may expect to be opened again to Heaven, through 
Eden, as it was in the beginning. 

The Strong Man represents the human sublime ; the Beautiful 
Man represents the human pathetic, which was in the wars of Eden 
J divided into male and female ; the Ugly Man represents the human 
reason. They were originally one man, who was fourfold ; he was 
self-divided, and his real humanity slain on the stems of generation, 
and the form of the fourth was like the Son of God. How he be- 
came divided is a subject of great sublimity and pathos. The Artist 
has written it under inspiration, and will, if God please, publish it ; 
it is voluminous, and contains the ancient history of Britain, and the 
world of Satan and of Adam. ' . 

In the meantime he has painted this Picture, which supposes that 
in the reign of that British Prince, who lived in the fifth century, 
there were remains of those naked Heroes in the Welch Mountains ; 
they are there now Gray saw them in the person of his Bard on 


Snowdon ; there they dwell in naked simplicity ; happy is he who 
can see and converse with them above the shadows of generation 
and death. The Giant Albion was Patriarch of the Atlantic ; he is 
the Atlas of the Greeks, one of those the Greeks called Titans. The 
stories of Arthur are the acts of Albion, applied to a Prince of the 
fifth century, who conquered Europe, and held the empire of the 
world in the dark age, which the Romans never again recovered. In 
this Picture, believing with Milton the ancient British History, Mr. 
B. has done as all the ancients did, and as all the moderns who are 
worthy of fame given the historical fact in its poetical vigour, so as 
it always happens, and not in that dull way that some Historians 
pretend, who, being weakly organised themselves, cannot see either 
miracle or prodigy : all is to them a dull round of probabilities and 
possibilities ; but the history of all times and places is nothing else 
but improbabilities and impossibilities what we should say was 
impossible if we did not see it always before our eyes. *' ^ 

The antiquities of every Nation under Heaven are no less sacred 
than those of the Jews. They are the same thing ; as Jacob Bryant 
and all antiquaries have proved. How other antiquities came to be 
neglected and disbelieved, while those of the Jews are collected 
and arranged, is an inquiry worthy of both the Antiquarian and the 
Divine. All had originally one language, and one religion ; this was 
the religion of Jesus, the everlasting Gospel. Antiquity preaches 
the Gospel of Jesus. The reasoning historian, turner and twister of 
causes and consequences such as Hume, Gibbon, and Voltaire 
cannot, with all his artifice, turn or twist one fact or disarrange self- 
evident action and reality. Reasons and opinions concerning acts 
are not history ; acts themselves alone are history, and these are not 
the exclusive property of either Hume, Gibbon, or Voltaire, Echard, 
Rapin, Plutarch, or Herodotus. Tell me the Acts, O historian, 
and leave me to reason upon them as I please ; away with your 
reasoning and your rubbish ! All that is not action is not worth 
reading. Tell me the What ; I do not want you to tell me the Why 
and the How ; I can find that out myself, as well as you can, and I 
will not be fooled by you into opinions, that you please to impose, to 
disbelieve what you think improbable or impossible. His opinion 
who does not see spiritual agency is not worth any man's reading ; 
he who rejects a fact because it is improbable must reject all History, 
and retain doubts only. 

It has been said to the Artist, Take the Apollo for the model of 
your Beautiful Man, and the Hercules for your Strong Man, and -the 


Dancing Faun for your Ugly Man. Now he comes to his trial. He 
knows that what he does is not inferior to the grandest Antiques. 
Superior it cannot be, for human power cannot go beyond either 
what he does, or what they have done ; it is the gift of God, it is 
inspiration and vision. He had resolved to emulate those precious 
remains of antiquity ; he has done so, and the result you behold ; his 
ideas of strength and beauty have not been greatly different. Poetry 
as it exists now on earth, in the various remains of ancient authors, 
Music as it exists in old tunes or melodies, Painting and Sculpture as 
they exist in the remains of Antiquity and in the works of more 
modern genius each is Inspiration, and cannot be surpassed ; it is 
^perfect and eternal. Milton, Shakspeare, Michael Angelo, Raphael, 
the finest specimens of Ancient Sculpture and Painting and Archi- 
tecture, Gothic, Grecian, Hindoo, and Egyptian, are the extent of 
the human mind. The human mind cannot go beyond the gift of 
4 God, the Holy Ghost. To suppose that Art can go beyond the 
finest specimens of Art that are now in the world is not knowing 
what Art is ; it is being blind to the gifts of the Spirit. 

It will be necessary for the Painter to say something concerning 
his ideas of Beauty, Strength, and Ugliness. 

The Beauty that is annexed and appended to folly, is a lamentable 
accident and error of the mortal and perishing life ; it does but seldom 
happen ; but with this unnatural mixture the sublime Artist can have 
nothing to do ; it is fit for the burlesque. The Beauty proper for 
sublime art is lineaments, or forms and features, that are capable of 
being the receptacles of intellect ; accordingly the Painter has given, 
in his Beautiful Man, his own idea of intellectual Beauty. The face 
and limbs that deviate or alter least, from infancy to old age, are the 
face and limbs of greatest Beauty and perfection. 

The Ugly likewise, when accompanied and annexed to imbecility 
and disease, is a subject for burlesque and not for historical grandeur ; 
the Artist has imagined his Ugly Man ; one approaching to the beast 
in features and form, his forehead small without frontals, his jaws 
large, his nose high on the ridge, and narrow, his chest and the 
stamina of his make comparatively little, and his joints and his ex- 
tremities large ; his eyes with scarce any whites, narrow and cunning, 
and everything tending toward what is truly Ugly the incapability 
of intellect. 

The Artist has considered his Strong Man as a receptacle ot 
Wisdom, a sublime energiser ; his features and limbs do not spindle 
out .into length without strength, nor are they too large and unwieldy 


or his brain and bosom. Strength consists in accumulation of 
power to the principal seat, and from thence a regular gradation and 
subordination ; strength is compactness, not extent nor bulk. 

The Strong Man acts from conscious superiority, and marches on 
in fearless dependence on the divine decrees, raging with the in- 
spirations of a prophetic mind. The Beautiful Man acts from duty, 
and anxious solicitude for the fates of those for whom he combats. 
The Ugly Man acts from love of carnage, and delight in the savage 
barbarities of war, rushing with sportive precipitation into the very 
teeth of the affrighted enemy. 

The Roman Soldiers, rolled together in a heap before them, 
' like the rolling thing before the whirlwind,' show each a different 
character, and a different expression of fear, or revenge, or envy, 
or blank horror or amazement, or devout wonder and unresisting 

The dead and the dying, Britons naked, mingled with armed 
Romans, strew the field beneath. Among these, the last of the 
Bards who was capable of attending warlike deeds is seen falling, 
outstretched among the dead and the dying, singing to his harp in 
the pains of death. 

Distant among the mountains are Druid Temples, similar to 
Stonehenge. The Sun sets behind the mountains, bloody with the 
day of battle. 

The flush of health in flesh, exposed to the open air, nourished byl 
the spirits of forests and floods, in that ancient happy period which 
history has recorded, cannot be like the sickly daubs of Titian or 
Rubens. Where will the copier of nature, as it now is, find a 
civilized man who has been accustomed to go naked ? Imagination 
only can furnish us with colouring appropriate, such as is found in 
the Frescoes of Raphael and Michael Angelo : the disposition of 
forms always directs colouring in works of true art. As to a modern 
Man stripped from his load of clothing, he is like a dead corpse. 
Hence Rubens, Titian, Correggio, and all of that class, are like 
leather and chalk ; their men are like leather and their women like 
chalk, for the disposition of their forms will not admit of grand 
colouring ; in Mr. B.'s Britons, the blood is seen to circulate in their 
limbs ; he defies competition in colouring. * 



* A Spirit vaulting from a Cloud fy turn and wind a fiery Pegasus ' 
Shakspeare. The Horse of Intellect is leaping from the Cliffs of 
Memory and Reasoning; it is a barren Rock : it is also called the 
Barren Waste of Locke and Newton. 

THIS Picture was done many years ago, and was one of the first Mr. 
B. ever did in Fresco ; fortunately, or rather providentially, he left 
it unblotted and unblurred, although molested continually by blotting 
and blurring demons ; but he was also compelled to leave it 
unfinished for reasons that will be shown in the following. 

The Goats, an experiment Picture. 

THE subject is taken from the Missionary Voyage, and varied from 
the literal fact for the sake of picturesque scenery. The savage girls 
had dressed themselves with vine-leaves, and some goats on board 
the missionary ship stripped them off presently. This Picture was 
painted at intervals, for experiment with the colours, and is laboured 
to a superabundant blackness ; it has however that about it which 
may be worthy the attention of the Artist and Connoisseur for 
reasons that follow. 

The spiritual Preceptor, an experiment Picture. 

THIS subject is taken from the Visions of Emanuel Swedenborg 
(Universal Theology, No. 623). The Learned, who strive to ascend 
into Heaven by means of learning, appear to Children like dead 
horses, when repelled by the celestial spheres. The works of this 
visionary are well worthy the attention of Painters and Poets ; they 
are foundations for grand things ; the reason they have not been 
more attended to is, because corporeal demons have gained a pre- 
dominance ; who the leaders of these are, will be shown below. 
Unworthy Men, who gain fame among Men, continue to govern 
mankind after death, and, in their spiritual bodies, oppose the spirits 


of those who worthily are famous ; and, as Swedenborg observes, by 
entering into disease and excrement, drunkenness and concupiscence, 
they possess themselves of the bodies of mortal men, and shut the 
doors of mind and of thought, by placing Learning above Inspiration. * 
O Artist ! you may disbelieve all this, but it shall be at your own 


Satan calling up his Legions, from Milton 's Paradise Lost ; a com- 
position for a more perfect Picture afterward executed for a Lady 
of high rank. An experiment Picture. 

THIS Picture was likewise painted at intervals, for experiment on 
colours, without any oily vehicle ; it may be worthy of attention, not 
only on account of its composition, but of the great labour which 
has been bestowed on it ; that is, three or four times as much 
as would have finished a more perfect Picture. The labour has 
destroyed the lineaments : it was with difficulty brought back again 
to a certain effect, which it had at first, when all the lineaments 
were perfect. 

These Pictures, among numerous others painted for experiment,"* 
were the result of temptations and perturbations, labouring to 
destroy Imaginative power, by means of that infernal machine, 
called Chiaro Oscuro, in the hands of Venetian and Flemish 
Demons ; whose enmity to the Painter himself, and to all Artists 
who study in the Florentine and Roman Schools, may be removed 
by an exhibition and exposure of their vile tricks. They cause that 
everything in art shall become a Machine. They cause that the exe- 
cution shall be all blocked up with brown shadows. They put the 
original Artist in fear and doubt of his own original conception. The 
spirit of Titian was particularly active in raising doubts concerning 
the possibility of executing without a model ; and, when once he 
had raised the doubt, it became easy for him to snatch away the 
vision time after time ; for when the Artist took his pencil, to 
execute his ideas, his power of imagination weakened so much, and 
darkened, that memory of nature and of Pictures of the various 
Schools possessed his mind, instead of appropriate execution, 
resulting from the inventions ; like walking in another man's style, 
or speaking or looking in another man's style and manner, unap- . 
propriate and repugnant to your own individual character ; tormenting 
the true Artist, till he leaves the Florentine, and adopts the Venetian 


practice, or does as Mr. B. has done has the courage to suffer 
poverty and disgrace, till he ultimately conquers. 

Rubens is a most outrageous demon, and by infusing the remem- 
brances of his Pictures, and style of execution, hinders all power of 
individual thought : so that the man who is possessed by this demon 
loses all admiration of any other Artist but Rubens, and those who 
were his imitators and journeymen. He causes to the Florentine 
and Roman Artist fear to execute; and, though the original 'con- 
ception was all fire and animation, he loads it with hellish brown- 
ness, and blocks up all its gates of light, except one, and that 
one he closes with iron bars, till the victim is obliged to give up 
the Florentine and Roman practice, and adopt the Venetian and 

Correggio is a soft and effeminate and consequently a most cruel 
demon, whose whole delight is to cause endless labour to whoever 
suffers him to enter his mind. The story that is told in all Lives 
of the Painters, about Correggio being poor and but badly paid for 
his Pictures, is altogether false ; he was a petty Prince, in Italy, and 
employed numerous Journeymen in manufacturing (as Rubens and 
Titian did) the Pictures that go under his name. The manual 
labour in these Pictures of Correggio is immense, and was paid for 
originally at the immense prices that those who keep manufactories 
of art always charge to their employers, while they themselves pay 
their journeymen little enough. But, though Correggio was not poor, 
he will make any true artist so, who permits him to enter his mind 
and take possession of his affections ; he infuses a love of soft and 
even tints without boundaries, and of endless reflected lights, that 
confuse one another, and hinder all correct drawing from appearing 
to be correct ; for if one of Raphael's or Michael Angelo's figures 
was to be traced, and Correggio's reflections and refractions to be 
added to it, there would soon be an end of proportion and strength, 
and it would be weak, and pappy, and lumbering, and thick-headed, 
like his own works ; but then it would have softness and evenness, 
by a twelvemonth's labour, where a month would with judgment have 
finished it better and higher; and the poor wretch who executed 
it would be the Correggio that the Life-writers have written of a 
drudge and a miserable man, compelled to softness by poverty. I 
say again, O Artist ! you may disbelieve all this, but it shall be at 
your own peril. 

JVta.^-These experiment Pictures have been bruised and knocked 
about, without mercy, to try all experiments. 



The Bramins. A Drawing. 

THE subject is, Mr. Wilkin translating the Geeta; an ideal design, 
suggested by the first publication of that part of the Hindoo 
Scriptures translated by Mr. Wilkin. I understand that my 
Costume is incorrect ; 'but in this I plead the authority of the 
ancients, who often deviated from the Habits, to preserve the 
Manners, as in the instance of Laocoon, who, though a priest, is 
represented naked. 


The Body of Abel found by Adam and Eve ; Cain, who was about 
to bury it, fleeing from the face of his Parents. A Drawing. 


The Soldiers casting Lots for Christ's Garment. A Drawing. 


Jacob's Ladder. A Drawing. 


The Angels hovering over the Body of Jesus in the Sepulchre. 
A Drawing. 

THE above four drawings the Artist wishes were in Fresco, on an 
enlarged scale, to ornament the altars of churches, and to make 
England, like Italy, respected by respectable men of other countries 
on account of Art. It is not the want of genius that can hereafter 
be laid to our charge ; the Artist who has done these Pictures and 
Drawings will take care of that ; let those who govern the Nation 
take care of the other. The times require that every one should 
speak out boldly ; England expects that every man should do his 
duty, in Arts, as well as in Arms or in the Senate. 




Ruth. A Drawing. 

THIS Design is taken from that most pathetic passage in the Book 

of Ruth where Naomi, having taken leave of her daughters-in-law, 
with intent to return to her own country, Ruth cannot leave her, but 
says, ' Whither thou goest, I will go ; and where thou lodgest, I will 
lodge : thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God : where 
thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried : God do so to me, 
and more also, if aught but death part thee and me. ' 

The distinction that is made in modern times between a Painting 
and a Drawing proceeds from ignorance of art. The merit of a 
Picture is the same as the merit of a Drawing. The dauber daubs 
his Drawings ; he who draws his Drawings draws his Pictures. 
There is no difference between Raphael's Cartoons and his Frescoes, 
or Pictures, except that the Frescoes, or Pictures, are more finished. 
When Mr. B. formerly painted in oil colours, his Pictures were 
shown to certain painters and connoisseurs, who said that they were 
very admirable Drawings on canvas, but not Pictures ; but they said 
the same of Raphael's Pictures. Mr. B. thought this the greatest ot 
compliments, though it was meant otherwise. If losing and oblite- 
rating the outline constitutes a Picture, Mr. B. will never be so foolish 
as to do one. Such art of losing the outlines is the art of Venice 
and Flanders ; it loses all character, and leaves what some people 
call expression : but this is a false notion of expression ; expression 
cannot exist without character as its stamina ; and neither character 
nor expression can exist without firm and determinate outline. 
Fresco Painting is susceptible of higher finishing than Drawing on 
Paper, or than any other method of Painting. But he must have a 
strange organisation of sight who does not prefer a Drawing on Paper 
to a Daubing in Oil by the same master, supposing both to be done 
with equal care. 

The great and golden rule of art, as well as of life, is this : That 
the more distinct, sharp, and wiry the bounding line, the more 
perfect the work of art ; and the less keen and sharp, the greater is 
the evidence of weak imitation, plagiarism, and bungling. Great in- 
ventors, in all ages, knew this : Protogenes and Apelles knew each 
other by this line. Raphael and Michael Angelo, and Albert Diirer, 
are known by this and this alone. The want of this determinate 
and bounding form evidences the idea of want in the artist's mind, 


and the pretence of the plagiary in all its branches. How do we 
distinguish the oak from the beech, the horse from the ox, but by 
the bounding outline ? How do we distinguish one face or counte- 
nance from another, but by the bounding line and its infinite 
inflexions and movements ? What is it that builds a house and 
plants a garden, but the definite and determinate ? What is it that 
distinguishes honesty from knavery, but the hard and wiry line of 
rectitude and certainty in the actions and intentions? Leave out 
this line and you leave out life itself ; all is chaos again, and the line 
of the Almighty must be drawn out upon it before man or beast can 
exist. Talk no more then of Correggio or Rembrandt, or any other 
of those plagiaries of Venice or Flanders. They were but the lame 
imitators of lines drawn by their predecessors, and their works prove 
themselves contemptible disarranged imitations, and blundering 
misapplied copies.! 


The Penance of Jane Shore in St. Paul's Church. A Drawing. 

THIS Drawing was done above Thirty Years ago, and proves to the 
Author, and he thinks will prove to any discerning eye, that the pro- 
ductions of our youth and of our maturer age are equal in all essential 
points. If a man is master of his profession, he cannot be ignorant 
that he is so ; and, if he is not employed by those who pretend to 
encourage art, he will employ himself, and laugh in secret at the 
pretences of the ignorant, while he has every night dropped into 
his shoe as soon as he puts it off, and puts out the candle, and 
gets into bed a reward for the labours of the day, such as the world 
cannot give ; and patience and time await to give him all that the 
world can give. 

M 2 


Intended to accompany Blake s Engraving of the Canterbury 


THE originality of this production makes it necessary to 
say a few words. 

In this plate Mr. Blake has resumed the style with which 
he set out in life, of which Heath and Stothard were the 
awkward imitators at that time. It is the style of Albert 
Diirer and the old engravers, which cannot be imitated by 
any one who does not understand drawing, and which, ac- 
cording to Heath, and Stothard, Flaxman, and even Romney, 
^spoils an engraver ; for each of these men has repeatedly 
asserted this absurdity to me, in condemnation of my work, 
and approbation of Heath's lame imitation ; Stothard being 
such a fool as to suppose that his blundering blurs can be 
made out and delineated by any engraver who knows how to 
cut dots and lozenges, equally well with those little prints 
which I engraved after him four-and-twenty years ago, and 
by which he got his reputation as a draughtsman. 

If men of weak capacities have alone the power of execution 
in art, Mr. Blake has now put to the test. If to invent and 
to draw well hinders the executive power in art, and his 
strokes are still to be condemned because they are unlike 
those of artists who are unacquainted with drawing, is now 
to be decided by the public. Mr. Blake's inventive powers, 
and his scientific knowledge of drawing, are on all hands 



acknowledged ; it only remains to be certified whether 
physiognomic strength and power are to give place to 
imbecility. In a work of art it is not fine tints that are 
required, but fine forms; fine tints without fine forms are 
always the subterfuge of the blockhead. 

I account it a public duty respectfully to address myself 
to the Chalcographic Society, and to express to them my 
opinion (the result of the expert practice and experience of 
many years), that engraving as an art is lost to England, 
owing to an artfully propagated opinion that drawing spoils 
an engraver. I request the Society to inspect my print, of 
which drawing is the foundation, and indeed the superstruc- 
ture : it is drawing on copper, as painting ought to be 
drawing on canvas or any other surface, and nothing else. 
I request, likewise, that the Society will compare the prints 
of Bartolozzi, Woollett, Strange, &c., with the old English 
portraits ; that is, compare the modern art with the art as it 
existed previous to the en-trance of Vandyck and Rubens 
into the country, since which event engraving is lost ; and 
I am sure the result of the comparison will be that the 
Society must be of my opinion, that engraving, by losing 
drawing, has lost all character and all expression, without 
which the art is lost. 

There is not, because there cannot be, any difference of 
effect in the pictures of Rubens and Rembrandt : when you 
have seen one of their pictures, you have seen all. It is not 
so with Raphael, Giulio Romano, Albert Dlirer, Michael 
Angelo ; every picture of theirs has a different and appro- 
priate effect. What man of sense will lay out his money 
upon the life's labours of imbecility and imbecility's journey- 
men, or think to educate a fool how to build a universe with 
farthing balls ? The contemptible idiots who have been 
called great men of late years ought to rouse the public in- 
dignation of men of sense in all professions. Yet I do not 
shrink from the. comparison in either relief or strength of 
colour with either Rembrandt or Rubens ; on the contrary, I 


court the comparison, and fear not the result, but not in a 
dark corner. Their effects are, in every picture, the same ; 

f mine are in every picture different. That vulgar epigram in 
art, Rembrandt's Hundred Guelders has entirely put an 
end to all genuine and appropriate effect : all, both morning 

u and night, is now a dark cavern ; it is the fashion. 

I hope my countrymen will excuse me if I tell them a 

f wholesome truth. Most Englishmen, when they look at 
pictures, immediately set about searching for points of light, 
and clap the picture into a dark corner. This, when done by 
grand works, is like looking for epigrams in Homer. A point 
of light is a witticism : many are destructive of all art ; one 
is an epigram only, and no good work can have them. 
Raphael, Michael Angelo, Albert Diirer, Giulio Romano, are 
accounted ignorant of that epigrammatic wit in art, because 

ithey avoid it as a destructive machine, as it is. 

Mr. Blake repeats that there is not one* character or ex- 
pression in this print which could be produced with the 
v execution of Titian, Rubens, Correggio, Rembrandt, or any 
of that class. Character and expression can only be expressed 
by those who feel them. Even Hogarth's execution cannot 
be copied or improved. Gentlemen of fortune, who give great 
prices for pictures, should consider the following : When you 
view a collection of pictures, painted since Venetian art was 
the fashion, or go into a modern exhibition, with a very few 
exceptions every picture has the same effect a piece of 
machinery of points of light to be put into a dark hole. 

Rubens's ' Luxembourg Gallery ' is confessed on all hands 
to be the work of a blockhead ; it bears this evidence in its 
face. How can its execution be any other than the work of 
a blockhead ? Bloated gods, Mercury, Juno, Venus, and the 
rattletraps of mythology, and the lumber of an awkward 
French palace, are thrown together around clumsy and 
rickety princes and princesses, higgledy-piggledy. On the 
contrary, Giulio Romano's * Palace of T. at Mantua ' is 
allowed on all hands to be the production of a man of the 


most profound sense and genius ; and yet his execution is 
pronounced by English connoisseurs (and Reynolds their 
doll) to be unfit for the study of the painter. Can I speak 
with too great contempt of such contemptible fellows ? If 
all the princes in Europe, like Louis XIV. and Charles I., 
were to patronise such blockheads, I, William Blake, a mental 
prince, would decollate and hang their souls as guilty of 
mental high-treason. He who could represent Christ uni- 
formly like a drayman must have queer conceptions con- 
sequently his execution must have been as queer : and those 
must be queer fellows who give great sums for such nonsense 
and; think it fine art. Who that has eyes cannot see that 
Rubens and Correggio must have been very weak and vulgar 
fellows ? And we are to imitate their execution ! This is 
like what Sir Francis Bacon says : that a healthy child should 
be taught and compelled to walk like a cripple, while the 
cripple must be taught to walk like healthy people. Oh rare 
wisdom ! 

The wretched state of the arts in this country and in Europe, 
originating in the wretched state of political science (which is 
the science of sciences), demands a firm and determinate 
conduct on the part of artists, to resist the contemptible 
counter-arts, established by such contemptible politicians as 
Louis XIV., and originally set on foot by Venetian picture- 
traders, music-traders, and rhyme-traders, to the destruction 
of all true art, as it is this day. To recover art has been the"^ 
business of my life to the Florentine original, and if possible, 
to go beyond that original : this I thought the only pursuit 
worthy of a man. To imitate I abhor : I obstinately adhere 
to the true style of art, such as Michael Angelo, Raphael, 
Giulio Romano, Albert Diirer, left it. I demand, therefore, ofj 
the amateurs of art the encouragement which is my due ; if J 
they continue to refuse, theirs is the loss, not mine, and theirs 
is the contempt of posterity. I have enough in the approba- 
tion of fellow-labourers : this is my glory and exceeding great 
reward. I go on, and nothing can hinder my course. 


** While the works of Pope and Dryden are looked upon as 
the same art with those of Shakespeare and Milton, while the 
works of Strange and Woollett are looked upon as the same 
art with those of Raphael and Albert Diirer, there can be no 

^art in a nation but such as is subservient to the interest of 
the monopolising trader. Englishmen ! rouse yourselves from 
the fatal slumber into which booksellers and trading dealers 
have thrown you, under the artfully propagated pretence that 
a translation or a copy of any kind can be as honourable to a 
nation as an original, belieing the English character in that 
well-known saying, Englishmen improve what others invent. 
This even Hogarth's works prove a detestable falsehood. No 
man can improve an original invention, nor can an original 
invention exist without execution organised, delineated, and 

'"articulated either by God or man : I do not mean smoothed 
up and niggled and poco-pen'd, and all the beauties paled 
out, blurred, and blotted ; but drawn with a firm and decided 
hand at once, like Michael Angelo, Shakespeare and Milton. 
I have heard many people say : ' Give me the ideas it is no 
matter what words you put them into ; ' and others say : 
' Give me the design, it is no matter for the execution.' These 
people knew enough of artifice, but nothing of art. Ideas 
cannot be given but in their minutely appropriate words, nor 
can a design be made without its minutely appropriate 
execution. The unorganised blots and blurs of Rubens and 
Titian are not art, nor can their method ever express ideas or 
imaginations, any more than Pope's metaphysical jargon of 
rhyming. Unappropriate execution is the most nauseous of 
all affectation and foppery. He who copies does not execute 
he only imitates what is already executed. Execution is 

Ijonly the result of invention. 

1* I do not condemn Rubens, Rembrandt, or Titian, because 
they did not understand drawing, but because they did not 

^understand colouring ; how long shall I be forced to beat this 
into men's ears ? I do not condemn Strange or Woollett 
because they did not understand drawing, but because they 


did not understand engraving. I do not condemn Pope or 
Dryden because they did not understand imagination, but 
because they did not understand verse. Their colouring,, 
graving, and verse, can never be applied to art : that is not 
either colouring, graving, or verse, which is inappropriate to 
the subject. He who makes a design must know the effect 
and colouring proper to be put to that design, and will never 
take that of Rubens, Rembrandt, or Titian, to turn that*? 
which is soul and life into a mill or machine. J 

They say there is no straight line in nature. This is a*" 1 
lie, like all that they say, for there is every line in nature. 
But I will tell them what there is not in nature. An even 
tint is not in nature it produces heaviness. Nature's 
shadows are ever varying, and a ruled sky that is quite even 
never can produce a natural sky. The same with every 
object in a picture its spots are its beauties. Now, gen tie- 4 
men critics, how do you like this ? You may rage ; but 
what I say I will prove by such practice (and have already 
done so) that you will rage to your own destruction. Woollett 
I knew very intimately by his intimacy with Basire, and I 
knew him to be one of the most ignorant fellows that I ever 
knew. A machine is not a man nor a work of art; it is 
destructive of humanity and of art. Woollett, I know, did 
not know how to grind his graver ; I know this. He has 
often proved his ignorance before me at Basire's, by laughing 
at Basire's knife-tools, and ridiculing the forms of Basire's 
other gravers, till Basire was quite dashed and out of conceit 
with what he himself knew. But his impudence had a 
contrary effect on me. 

A certain portrait-painter said to me in a boasting way : 
' Since I have practised painting, I have lost all idea of 
drawing.' Such a man must know that I looked upon him 
with contempt. He did not care for this any more than 
West did, who hesitated and equivocated with me upon the 
same subject ; at which time he asserted that Woollett's prints 
were superior to Basire's, because they had more labour and 


care. Now this is contrary to the truth. Woollett did not 
know how to put so much labour into a head or foot as Basire 
did ; he did not know how to draw the leaf of a tree. All 
his study was clean strokes and mossy tints ; how then should 
he be able to make use of either labour or care, unless the 
labour and care of imbecility ? The life's labour of mental 
weakness scarcely equals one hour of the labour of ordinary 
capacity, like the full gallop of the gouty man to the ordinary 
walk of youth and health. I allow that there is such a thing 
as high-finished ignorance, as there may be a fool or a knave 
in an embroidered coat ; but I say that the embroidery of 
the ignorant finisher is not like a coat made by another, but 
is an emanation from ignorance itself, and its finishing is like 
its master the life's labour of five hundred idiots, for he 
never does the work himself. 

What is called the English style of engraving, such as it 
proceeded from the toilets of Woollett and Strange (for theirs 
were Fribble's toilets) can never produce character and ex-" 
pression. I knew the men intimately from their intimacy 
with Basire, my master, and knew them both to be heavy 
lumps of cunning and ignorance, as their works show to all 
the Continent, who laugh at the contemptible pretences of 
Englishmen to improve art before they even know the first 
beginnings of art. I hope this print will redeem my country 
from this coxcomb situation, and show that it is only some 
Englishmen, and not all, who are thus ridiculous m their 
pretences. Advertisements in newspapers are no proofs of 
popular approbation, but often the contrary. A man who 
pretends to improve fine art does not know what fine art is. 
Ye English engravers must come down from your high 
flights; ye must condescend to study Marc Antonio and 
Albert Durer ; ye must begin before you attempt to finish or 
improve : and when you have begun, you will know better 
than to think of improving what cannot be improved. It is 
very true what you have said for these thirty-two years : I 
am mad, or else you are so. Both of us cannot be in our 



right senses. Posterity will judge by our works. Woollett's 
and Strange's works are like those of Titian and Correggio, 
the life's labour of ignorant journeymen, suited to the pur- 
poses of commerce, no doubt, for commerce cannot endure 
individual merit ; its insatiable maw must be fed by what 
all can do equally well ; at least it is so in England, as I have 
found to my cost these forty years. Commerce is so far from 
being beneficial to arts or to empires that it is destructive 
of both, as all their history shows, for the above reason of 
individual merit being its great hatred. Empires flourish 
till they become commercial, and then they are scattered 
abroad to the four winds. 

Woollett's best works were etched by Jack Browne ;** 
Woollett etched very ill himself. The Cottagers, and 
Jociind Peasants, the Views in Kew Garden, F oofs-Cray, 
and Diana and Actceon, and, in short, all that are called 
Woollett's, were etched by Jack Browne ; and in Woollett's 
works the etching is all, though even in these a single leaf of 
a tree is never correct. Strange's prints were, when I knew^ 
him, all done by Aliamet and his French journeymen, whose 
names I forget. I also knew something of John Cooke, 
who engraved after Hogarth. Cooke wished to give Hogarth 
what he could take from Raphael, that is, outline, and mass, 
and colour ; but he could not. Such prints as Woollett and 
Strange produce will do for those who choose to purchase 
the life's labour of ignorance and imbecility in preference to 
the inspired monuments of genius and inspiration. 

In this manner the English public have been imposed upon 
for many years, under the impression that engraving and 
painting are somewhat else besides drawing. Painting is"! 
drawing on canvas, and engraving is drawing on copper, and J 
nothing else ; and he who pretends to be either painter or 
engraver without being a master of drawing, is an impostor. 
We may be clever as pugilists, but as artists, we are, and 
have long been, the contempt of the Continent. Gravelot 
once said to my master Basire : ' De English may be 


very clever in deir own opinions, but dey do not draw 
de draw.' 

Whoever looks at any of the great and expensive works of 
engraving that have been published by English traders must 
feel a loathing and disgust ; and accordingly most English- 
men have a contempt for art, which is the greatest curse that 
can fall upon a nation. 

The modern chalcographic connoisseurs and amateurs 
admire only the work of the journeyman picking out of 
whites and blacks in what are called tints. They despise 
drawing, which despises them in return. They see only 
whether everything is toned down but one spot of light. 
Mr. Blake submits to a more severe tribunal : he invites 
the admirers of old English portraits to look at his print. 

An example of these contrary arts is given us in the 
characters of Milton and Dryden, as they are written in a 
poem signed with the name of Nat Lee, which perhaps he 
never wrote and perhaps he wrote in a paroxysm of insanity ; 
in which it is said that Milton's poem is a rough unfinished 
piece, and that Dryden has finished it. Now let Dryden's 
Fall and Milton's Paradise be read, and I will assert that 
everybody of understanding must cry out shame on such 
niggling and poco-pen as Dryden has degraded Milton 
with. But at the same time I will allow that stupidity will 
prefer Dryden, because it is in rhyme and monotonous sing- 
song, sing-song from beginning to end. Such are Bartolozzi, 
Woollett, and Strange. 

Men think that they can copy nature as correctly as I copy 
imagination. This they will find impossible : and all the 
copies, or pretended copies, of nature, from Rembrandt to 
Reynolds, prove that nature becomes to its victim nothing 
,but blots and blurs. Why are copies of nature incorrect, 
while copies of imagination are correct ? This is manifest 
to all. The English artist may be assured that he is doing 
an injury and injustice to his country while he studies and 
imitates the effects of nature. England will never rival Italy 


while we servilely copy what the wise Italians, Raphael and 
Michael Angelo, scorned, nay abhorred, as Vasari tells us. 
What kind of intellect must he have who sees only the 
colours of things, and not the forms of things ? No man of 
sense can think that an imitation of the objects of nature is 
the art of painting, or that such imitation (which any one 
may easily perform) is worthy of notice much less that 
such an art should be the glory and pride of a nation. The 
Italians laugh at the English connoisseurs, who are (most 
of them) such silly fellows as to believe this. j 

A man sets himself down with colours, and with all the 
articles of painting ; he puts a model before him, and he 
copies that so neat as to make it a deception. Now, let 
any man of sense ask himself one question : Is this art? 
Can it be worthy of admiration to anybody of understand- 
ing ? Who could not do this ? What man, who has eyes 
and an ordinary share of patience, cannot do this neatly ? 
Is this art, or is it glorious to a nation to produce such 
contemptible copies ? Countrymen, countrymen, do not 
suffer yourselves to be disgraced ! 

No man of sense ever supposes that copying from nature is" 1 
the art of painting ; if the art is no more than this, it is no 
better than any other manual labour : anybody may do it,j 
and the fool often will do it best, as it is a work of no mind. 
A jockey that is anything of a jockey, will never buy a 
horse by the colour ; and a man who has got any brains will 
never buy a picture by the colour. 

When I tell any truth, it is not for the sake of convincing 
those who do not know it, but for the sake of defending 
those who do. 

It is nonsense for noblemen and gentlemen to offer pre- 
miums for the encouragement of art, when such pictures as 
these can be done without premiums. Let them encourage 
what exists already, and not endeavour to counteract by 
tricks. Let it no more be said that empires encourage arts, 
for it is arts that encourage empires. Arts and artists are 


spiritual, and laugh at mortal contingencies. Let us teach 
Buonaparte, and whomsoever else it may concern, that it is 
not arts that follow and attend upon empire, but empire that 
attends upon and follows the arts. It is in their power to 
hinder instruction but not to instruct; just as it is in their 
power to murder a man, but not to make a man. 

I do not pretend to paint better than Raphael or Michael 
Angelo, or Giulio Romano, or Albert Diirer ; but I do pretend 
to paint finer than Rubens, or Rembrandt, or Correggio, 
or Titian. I do not pretend to engrave finer than Albert 
Diirer; but I do pretend to engrave finer than Strange, Woollett, 
Hall, or Bartolozzi ; and all because I understand drawing, 
which they understood not. Englishmen have been so used 
to journeymen's undecided bungling, that they cannot bear 
the firmness of a master's touch. Every line is the line of 
beauty ; it is only fumble and bungle which cannot draw a 
line. This only is ugliness. That is not a line which doubts 
^nd hesitates in the midst of its course. 

I know my execution is not like anybody else's. I do not 
intend it should be so. None but blockheads copy one an- 
other. My conception and invention are, on all hands, allowed 
to be superior ; my execution will be found so too. To what 
is it that gentlemen of the first rank both in genius and for- 
tune have subscribed their names ? To my inventions. The 
executive part they never disputed. 

The painters of England are unemployed in public works, 
while the sculptors have continual and superabundant em- 
ployment. Our churches and our abbeys are treasures of 
their producing for ages back, while painting is excluded- 
Painting, the principal art, has no place among our almost 
only public works. Yet it is more adapted to solemn orna- 
ment than marble can be, as it is capable of being placed in 
any height, and, indeed, would make a noble finish, placed 
above the great public monuments in Westminster, St. Paul's, 
and other cathedrals. To the Society for the Encouragement 
of Art I address myself with respectful duty, request ; ng their 


consideration of my plan as a great public means of advanc- 
ing fine art in Protestant communities. Monuments to the 
dead painters by historical and poetical artists, like Barry and 
Mortimer (I forbear to name living artists, though equally 
worthy) I say, monuments to painters must make England 
what Italy is, an envied storehouse of intellectual riches. 

It has been said of late years, the English public have no 
taste for painting. This is a falsehood. The English are as 
good judges of painting as of poetry, and they prove it in 
their contempt for great collections of all the rubbish of the 
Continent, brought here by ignorant picture-dealers. An 
Englishman may well say 4 I am no judge of painting,' when 
he is shown these smears and daubs, at an immense price, 
and told that such is the art of painting. I say the English 
public are true encouragers of real art, while they discourage 
and look with contempt on false art. 

Resentment for personal injuries has had some share in 
this public address, but love for my art, and zeal for my 
country, a much greater. 

I do not know whether Homer is a liar and that there is no 
such thing as generous contention. I know that all those 
with whom I have contended in art have striven, not to excel, 
but to starve me out by calumny and the arts of trading 
competition. The manner in which my character has been 
blasted these thirty years both as an artist and a man may 
be seen particularly in a Sunday paper called The Examiner, 
published in Beaufort's Buildings (we all know that editors of 
newspapers trouble their heads very little about art and 
science, and that they are always paid for what they put in 
upon these ungracious subjects) : and the manner in which 
I have rooted out the nest of villains will be seen in a poem 
concerning my three years' herculean labours at Felpham 
which I shall soon publish. Secret calumny and open pro- 
fessions of friendship are common enough all the world over, 
but have never been so good an occasion of poetic imagery. 
When a base man means to be your enemy, he always begins 


with being your friend. Flaxman cannot deny that one of 
the very first monuments he did I gratuitously designed for 
him ; at the same time he was blasting my character as an 
artist to Macklin, my employer, as Macklin told me at the 
time, and posterity will know. Many people are so foolish 
as to think they can wound Mr. Fuseli over my shoulder : 
they will find themselves mistaken ; they could not wound 
even Mr. Barry so. 

In a commercial nation, impostors are abroad in all pro- 
fessions ; these are the greatest enemies of genius. In the 
art of painting these impostors sedulously propagate an 
opinion that great inventors cannot execute. This opinion 
is as destructive of the true artist as it is false by all 
experience. Even Hogarth cannot be either copied or 
improved. Can Anglus never discern perfection but in a 
journeyman labourer ? 

P.S. I do not believe that this absurd opinion ever was 
set on foot till, in my outset into life, it was artfully published, 
both in whispers and in print, by certain persons whose 
robberies from me made it necessary to them that I should 
be hid in a corner. It never was supposed that a copy 
could be better than an original, or near so good, till, a few 
years ago, it became the interest of certain knaves. The 
lavish praise I have received from all quarters for invention 
and drawing has generally been accompanied by this : ' He 
^can conceive, but he cannot execute.' This absurd assertion 
has done me, and may still do me, the greatest mischief. I 
call for public protection against these villains. I am, like 
others, just equal in invention and in execution, as my works 
show. I, in my own defence, challenge a competition with 
the finest engravings, and defy the most critical judge to 
make the comparison honestly : asserting, in my own defence, 
that this print is the finest that has been done, or is likely 
to be done, in England, where drawing, the foundation, is 
condemned, and absurd nonsense about dots and lozenges 
and clean strokes made to occupy the attention to the neglect 


of all real art. I defy any man to cut cleaner strokes than 
I do, or rougher, when I please ; and assert, that he who 
thinks he can engrave or paint either, without being a master 
of drawing, is a fool. Painting is drawing on canvas, and" 
engraving is drawing on copper, and nothing else. Drawing 
is execution and nothing else ; and he who draws best must 
be the best artist. And to this I subscribe my name as 
a public duty. - 





[IN an early part of the same book from which has been gathered 
the foregoing Public Address, occur three memoranda having refer- 
ence to the methods by which Blake engraved some of his designs. 

These receipts are written immediately under two very curious 
entries: 'Tuesday, Jan. 20, 1807, Between two and seven in the 
evening. Despair.' And ' I say I shan't live five years ; and if I 
live one it will be a wonder. June 1793.' The last -quoted entry is 
in pencil, and pretty evidently made before the subjoined.] 


To engrave on pewter : Let there be first a drawing made correctly 
with black-lead pencil ; let nothing be to seek. Then rub it off on 
the plate, covered with white wax ; or perhaps pass it through press. 
This will produce certain and determined forms on the plate, and 
time will not be wasted in seeking them afterwards. 


To wood-cut on pewter : Lay a ground on the plate, and smoke 
it as for etching. Then trace your outlines, and, beginning with the 
spots of light on each object, with an oval-pointed needle, scrape off 
the ground, as a direction for your graver. Then proceed to graving, 
with the ground on the plate ; being as careful as possible not to 
hurt the ground, because it, being black, will show perfectly what 
is wanted. 


To wood-cut on copper : Lay a ground as for etching ; trace, 
&c., and, instead of etching the blacks, etch the whites, and 
bite it in. 

On Homer 's Poetry. 

EVERY poem must necessarily be a perfect Unity, but why 
Homer's is peculiarly so I cannot tell : he has told the story 
of Bellerophon, and omitted the Judgment of Paris, which is 
not only a part, but a principal part, of Homer's subject. 
But when a work has unity, it is as much so in a part as in 
the whole. The torso is as much a unity as the Laocoon. As 
unity is the cloak of folly, so goodness is the cloak of knavery. 
Those who will have unity exclusively in Homer come out 
with a moral like a sting in the tail. Aristotle says characters 
are either good or bad : now, goodness or badness has nothing 
to do with character. An apple-tree, a pear-tree, a horse, a 
lion, are characters; but a good apple-tree or a bad is an 
apple-tree still. A horse is not more a lion for being a 
bad horse that is its character : its goodness or badness is 
another consideration. 

It is the same with the moral of a whole poem as with the 
moral goodness of its parts. Unity and morality are secondary 
considerations, and belong to Philosophy, and not to Poetry 
to exception, and not to rule to accident, and not to sub- 
stance. The ancients called it eating of the Tree of Good 
and Evil. 

The Classics it is, the Classics, and not Goths or monks, 
that desolate Europe with wars. 

N 2 


On Virgil. 

SACRED truth has pronounced that Greece and Rome, as 
Babylon and Egypt, so far from being parents of Arts and 
Sciences, as they pretend, were destroyers of all Art. Homer, 
Virgil, and Ovid, confirm this, and make us reverence the 
Word of God, the only light of Antiquity that remains un- 
perverted by war. Virgil, in the Eneid, Book VI. line 848, 
says : ' Let others study Art. Rome has somewhat better 
to do namely, War and Dominion.' 

Rome and Greece swept art into their maw, and destroyed 
it. A warlike State never can produce art. It will rob and 
plunder, and accumulate into one place, and translate, and 
copy, and buy and sell, and criticise, but not make. Grecian 
is mathematic form. Mathematic form is eternal in the 
reasoning memory. Living form is eternal existence. Gothic 
is living form. 



Seen by William Blake. 

To Lord Byron in the Wilderness. What dost thou here, 

Elijah ? 
Can a Poet doubt the Visions of Jehovah ? Nature has no 

Outline ; 
But Imagination has. Nature has no Time ; but Imagination 

Nature has no Supernatural, and dissolves ; Imagination is 


SCENE. A rocky Country. EVE fainted over the dead body 
of ABEL which lies near a grave. ADAM kneels by her. 
JEHOVAH stands above. 
JEHOVAH. Adam ! 
ADAM. It is in vain : I will not hear thee more, thou 

Spiritual Voice. 

Is this Death ? 
JEHOVAH. Adam ! 

ADAM. It is in vain ; I will not hear thee 
Henceforth. Is this thy Promise that the Woman's Seed 
Should bruise the Serpent's Head ? Is this the Serpent ? 

Seven times, O Eve, thou hast fainted over the Dead. 

Ah ! Ah ! 

(EVE revives.} 


EVE. Is this the promise of Jehovah? Oh it is all a vain 


This Death and this Life and this Jehovah. 
JEHOVAH. Woman, lift thine eyes. 

(A VOICE is heard coming on.} 
VOICE. O Earth, cover not thou my blood ! 
(Enter the GHOST OF ABEL.) 
EVE. Thou visionary Phantasm, thou art not the real 

ABEL. Among the Elohim a Human Victim I wander. I 

am their House, 
Prince of the Air, and our dimensions compass Zenith and 

Vain is thy Covenant, O Jehovah : I am the Accuser and 


Of Blood; O Earth, cover not thou the blood of Abel. 
JEHOVAH. What vengeance dost thou require ? 
ABEL. Life for Life! Life for Life! 
JEHOVAH. He who shall take Cain's life must also die, 

O Abel; 

And who is he ? Adam, wilt thou, or Eve, thou, do this ? 
ADAM. It is all a vain delusion of the all-creative Im- 
Eve, come away, and let us not believe these vain 

Abel is dead, and Cain slew him ; We shall also die a 


And then what then ? be as poor Abel, a Thought ; or as 
This ? Oh what shall I call thee, Form Divine, Father of 

That appearest to my Spiritual Vision ? Eve, seest thou 

also ? 
EVE. I see him plainly with my mind's eye : I see also 

Abel living ! 
Tho' terribly afflicted, as we also are : yet Jehovah sees 



Alive and not dead ; were it not better to believe Vision 
With all our might and strength, tho' we are fallen and lost ? 
ADAM. Eve, thou hast spoken truly ; let us kneel before 
his feet. 

(They kneel before JEHOVAH.) 
ABEL. Are these the sacrifices of Eternity, O Jehovah ? 

a broken spirit 
And a contrite heart ? O, I cannot forgive ; the Accuser 

Entered into me as into his house, and I loathe thy 

As thou hast said so is it come to pass : My desire is 

unto Cain 
And he doth rule over me : therefore my soul in fumes of 


Cries for vengeance : Sacrifice on Sacrifice, Blood on Blood. 
JEHOVAH. Lo, I have given you a Lamb for an atone- 
ment instead 

Of the transgressor, or no Flesh or Spirit could ever live. 
ABEL. Compelled I cry, O Earth, cover not the blood of 

(ABEL sinks down into the grave, from which arises Satan, 

armed in glittering scales, with a crown and a spear?) 
SATAN. I will have human blood, and not the blood of 

bulls or goats, 
And no Atonement, O Jehovah ; the Elohim live on 

Of men : hence I am god of men ; thou human, O 

By the rock and oak of the Druid, creeping mistletoe and 

Cain's city built with human blood, not blood of bulls and 


Thou shalt thyself be sacrificed to me thy God on Calvary. 
'EHOVAH. Such is my will (thunders) that thou thyself 

go to Eternal Death. 


In self-annihilation, even till Satan self-subdued put off 

Into the bottomless abyss whose torment arises for ever 

and ever. 
(On each side a Chorus of Angels entering sing the 

The Elohim of the Heathen swore vengeance for Sin ! 

Then thou stood'st 
Forth, O Elohim Jehovah, in the midst of the darkness of 

the oath all clothed 
In thy covenant of the forgiveness of sins. Death, O 

Holy ! is this Brotherhood ? 
The Elohim saw their oath eternal fire ; they rolled 

apart trembling over the 
Mercy-Seat, each in his station fixed in the Firmament, 

by Peace, Brotherhood, and Love. 
(The curtain falls.) 

(1822. W. Blake's original stereotype was 1788.) 

* On the skirt of a figure, rapid and " vehemently sweep- 
' ing," engraved underneath (recalling that vision of Dion, 
' made memorable by one of Wordsworth's noble poems) 
' are inscribed these words : " The voice of Abel's Blood." 
' The fierce and strenuous flight of this figure is as the motion 
' of one whose feet are swift to shed blood, and the dim face 
' is full of hunger and sorrowful lust after revenge. The 
* decorations are slight, but not ineffective ; wrought merely 
' in black and white. This small prose lyric has a value 
' beyond the value of its occasional beauty and force of form ; 
' it is a brief, comprehensible expression of Blake's faith seen 
' from its two leading sides ; belief in vision and belief in 
' mercy/ 

(From A Critical Essay on William Blake, by Algernon 
Charles Swinburne, pp. 295-296, where The Ghost of Abel 
was first printed.) 


THE Last Judgment is not fable, or allegory, but vision. 
Fable, or allegory, is a totally distinct and inferior kind of 
poetry. Vision, or imagination, is a representation of what 
actually exists, really and unchangeably. Fable, or allegory, 
is formed by the daughters of Memory. Imagination is sur- 
rounded by the daughters of inspiration, who, in the aggre- 
gate, are called Jerusalem. Fable is allegory, but what critics 
call the fable is vision itself The Hebrew Bible and the 
Gospel of Jesus are not allegory, but eternal vision, or ima- 
gination, of all that exists. Note here that fable, or allegory, 
is seldom without some vision. Pilgrim's Progress is full 
of it ; the Greek poets the same. But allegory and vision 
ought to be known as two distinct things, and so called for 
the sake of eternal life. The [ancients produce fable] when 
they assert that Jupiter usurped the throne of his father, 
Saturn, and brought on an iron age, and begot on Mnemosyne 
or Memory the great Muses, which are not inspiration, as 
the Bible is. Reality was forgot, and the varieties of time 
and space only remembered, and called reality. The Greeks 
represent Chronos, or Time, as a very aged man. This is 
fable, but the real vision of Time is an eternal youth. I have, 
however, somewhat accommodated my figure of Time to the 
common opinion ; as I myself am also infected with it, and 
my vision is also infected, and I see Time aged alas ! too 
much so. Allegories are things that relate to moral virtues. 


Moral virtues do not exist : they are allegories and dissimu- 
lations. But Time and Space are real beings, a male and a 
female ; Time is a man, Space is a woman, and her masculine 
portion is Death. Such is the mighty difference between 
allegoric fable and spiritual mystery. Let it here be noted 
that the Greek fables originated in spiritual mystery and real 
vision, which are lost and clouded in fable and allegory ; while 
the Hebrew Bible and the Greek Gospel are genuine, pre- 
served by the Saviour's mercy. The nature of my work is 
visionary, or imaginative ; it is an endeavour to restore what 
the ancients called the Golden Age. 

Plato has made Socrates say that poets and prophets do 
not know or understand what they write or utter. This is a 
most pernicious falsehood. If they do not, pray is an inferior 
kind to be called ' knowing ' ? Plato confutes himself. 

The Last Judgment is one of these stupendous visions. I 
have represented it as I saw it. To different people it appears 
differently, as everything else does. 

In eternity one thing never changes into another thing : 
each identity is eternal. Consequently, Apuleius's Golden 
Ass, and Ovid's Metamorphoses, and others of the like kind, 
are fable ; yet they contain vision in a sublime degree, being 
derived from real vision in more ancient writings. Lot's 
wife being changed into a pillar of salt alludes to the mortal 
body being rendered a permanent statue, but not changed or 
transformed into another identity, while it retains its own 
individuality. A man can never become ass nor horse ; 
some are>born with shapes of men who are both ; but eternal 
identity is one thing, and corporeal vegetation is another 
thing. Changing water into wine by Jesus, and into blood 
by Moses, relates to vegetable nature also. 

The nature of visionary fancy, or imagination, is very little 
known, and the eternal nature and permanence of its ever- 
existent images are considered as less permanent than the 
things of vegetable and generative nature. Yet the oak dies 
as well as the lettuce ; but its eternal image or individuality 


I8 7 

never dies, but renews by its seed. Just so the imaginative 
image returns by the seed of contemplative thought. The 
writings of the prophets illustrate these conceptions of the 
visionary fancy by their various sublime and divine images 
as seen in the worlds of vision. 

The world of imagination is the world of eternity. It is 
the divine bosom into which we shall all go after the death of 
the vegetated body. This world of imagination is infinite 
and eternal, whereas the world of generation, or vegetation, 
is finite and temporal. There exist in that eternal world the 
permanent realities of every thing which we see reflected in 
this vegetable glass of nature. 

All things are comprehended in these eternal forms in the 
divine body of the Saviour, the true vine of eternity . . . 
who appeared to me as coming to judgment among His 
saints, and throwing off the temporal, that the eternal might 
be established. Around him were seen the images of exist- 
ences according to a certain order, suited to my imaginative 
eye, as follows : 

Jesus seated between the two pillars, Joachin and Boaz, with 
the word divine of revelation on His knee, and on each side 
the four-and-twenty elders sitting in judgment ; the heavens 
opening around Him by unfolding the clouds around His 
throne. The old heavens and the old earth are passing away, 
and the new heavens and the new earth descending : a sea of 
fire issues from before the throne. Adam and Eve appear 
first before the judgment-seat, in humiliation ; Abel surrounded 
by innocents ; and Cain, with the flint in his hand with which 
he slew his brother, falling with the head downwards. From 
the cloud on which Eve stands, Satan is seen falling head- 
long, wound round by the tail of the serpent, whose bulk, 
nailed to the cross round which he wreathes, is falling into 
the abyss. Sin is also represented as a female bound in one 
of the serpent's folds, surrounded by her fiends. Death is 
chained to the cross, and Time falls together with Death, 
dragged down by a demon crowned with laurel. Another 


demon, with a key, has the charge of Sin, and is dragging her 
down by the hair. Beside them a figure is seen, scaled with 
iron scales from head to feet, precipitating himself into the 
abyss with the sword and balances : he is Og, king of 

On the right, beneath the cloud on which Abel kneels, is 
Abraham, with Sarah and Isaac, also with Hagar and Ishmael 
on the left. Abel kneels on a bloody cloud, descriptive of 
those Churches before the Flood, that they were filled with 
blood and fire and vapour of smoke. Even till Abraham's 
time the vapour and heat were not extinguished. These 
states exist now. Man passes on, but states remain for ever : 
he passes through them like a traveller, who may as well sup- 
pose that the places he has passed through exist no more, as 
a man may suppose that the states he has passed through 
exist no more : everything is eternal. 

Beneath Ishmael is Mahomed : and beneath the falling 
figure of Cain is Moses, casting his tables of stone into the 
deeps. It ought to be understood that the persons, Moses 
and Abraham, are not here meant, but the states signified by 
those names ; the individuals being representatives, or visions, 
of those states, as they were revealed to mortal man in the 
series of divine k revelations, as they are written in the Bible. 
These various states I have seen in my imagination. When 
distant, they appear as one man ; but, as you approach, they 
appear multitudes of nations. Abraham hovers above his 
posterity, which appear as multitudes of children ascending 
from the earth, surrounded by stars, as it was said : ' As the 
stars of heaven for multitude.' Jacob and his twelve sons 
hover beneath the feet of Abraham, and receive their children 
from the earth. I have seen, when at a distance, multitudes 
of men in harmony appear like a single infant, sometimes 
in the arms of a female. This represented the Church. 

But to proceed with the description of those on the left 
hand. Beneath the cloud on which Moses kneels are two 
figures, a male and a female, chained together by the feet- 


They represent those who perished by the Flood. Beneath 
them a multitude of their associates are seen falling headlong. 
By the side of them is a mighty fiend with a book in his hand, 
which is shut : he represents the person named in Isaiah 
xxii. c. and 20 v., Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah. He drags 
Satan down headlong. He is crowned with oak. By the 
side of the scaled figure, representing Og, king of Bashan, is 
a figure with a basket, emptying out the varieties of riches 
and worldly honours. He is Araunah, the Jebusite, master 
of the threshing-floor. Above him are two figures elevated 
on a cloud, representing the Pharisees, who plead their own 
righteousness before the throne : they are weighed down by 
two fiends. Beneath the man with the basket are three fiery 
fiends, with grey beards, and scourges of fire : they represent 
cruel laws. They scourge a group of figures down into the 
deeps. Beneath them are various figures in attitudes of con- 
tention, representing various states of misery, which, alas ! 
every one on earth is liable to enter into, and against 
which we should all watch. The ladies will be pleased to 
see that I have represented the Furies by three men, and 
not by three women. It is not because I think the ancients 
wrong ; but they will be pleased to remember that mine is 
vision, and not fable. The spectator may suppose 
them clergymen in the pulpit, scourging sin, instead of 
forgiving it. 

The earth beneath these falling groups of figures is rocky 
and burning, and seems as if convulsed by earthquakes. A 
great city, on fire, is seen in the distance. The armies (?) are 
fleeing upon the mountains. On the foreground Hell is 
opened, and many figures are descending into it down stone 
steps, and beside a gate beneath a rock, where Sin and Death 
are to be closed eternally by that fiend who carries the key in 
one hand, and drags them down with the other. On the rock, 
and above the gate, a fiend with wings urges the wicked 
onward with fiery darts. He is Hazael, the Syrian, who 
drives abroad all those who rebel against their Saviour. 


Beneath the steps is Babylon, represented by a king crowned, 
grasping his sword and his sceptre. He is just awakened out 
of his grave. Around him are other kingdoms arising to 
judgment, represented in this picture by single personages, 
according to the descriptions in the Prophets. The figure 
dragging up a woman by her hair represents the Inquisition, 
as do those contending on the sides of the pit ; and, in 
particular, the man strangling a woman represents a cruel 

Two persons, one in purple, the other in scarlet, are 
descending down the steps into the pit. These are Caiaphas 
and Pilate ; two states where all those reside who calumniate 
and murder under pretence of holiness and justice. Caiaphas 
has a blue flame, like a mitre, on his head : Pilate has bloody 
hands, that can never be cleansed. The females behind them 
represent the females belonging to such states, who are under 
perpetual terrors and vain dreams, plots, and secret deceit. 
Those figures that descend into the flames before Caiaphas 
and Pilate are Judas and those of his class. Achitophel is 
also here, with the cord in his hand. 

Between the figures of Adam and Eve appears a fiery 
gulph descending from the sea of fire before the throne. In 
this cataract four angels descend headlong with four trumpets 
to awake the dead. Beneath these is the seat of the harlot, 
named Mystery in the Revelations. She is seized by two 
beings, each with three heads : they represent vegetative 
existence. As it is written in Revelations, they strip her 
naked, and burn her with fire. It represents the eternal 
consumption of vegetable life and death, with its lusts. The 
wreathed torches in their hands represent eternal fire, which 
is the fire of generation or vegetation ; it is an eternal con- 
summation. Those who are blessed with imaginative vision 
see this eternal female, and tremble at what others fear not ; 
while they despise and laugh at what others fear. Beneath 
her feet is a flaming cavern, in which are seen her kings, and 
councillors, and warriors, descending in flames, lamenting, and 


looking upon her in astonishment and terror, and Hell is 
opened beneath her seat ; on the left hand, the great Red 
Dragon with seven heads and ten horns. He has a book of 
accusations, lying on the rock, open before him. He is bound 
in chains by two strong demons : they are Gog and Magog, who 
have been compelled to subdue their master (Ezekiel xxxviii. 
c. 8 v.) with their hammer and tongs, about to new-create the 
seven-headed kingdoms. The graves beneath are opened, and 
the dead awake and obey the call of the trumpet : those on 
the right hand awake in joy, those on the left in horror. 
Beneath the Dragon's cavern a skeleton begins to animate, 
starting into life at the trumpet's sound, while the wicked 
contend with each other on the brink of perdition. On the 
right, a youthful couple are awaked by their children ; an 
aged patriarch is awaked by his aged wife : he is Albion, our 
ancestor, patriarch of the Atlantic Continent, whose history 
preceded that of the Hebrews, and in whose sleep, or chaos, 
creation began. The good woman is Britannica, the wife of 
Albion. Jerusalem is their daughter. Little infants creep 
out of the flowery mould into the green fields of the blessed, 
who, in various joyful companies, embrace and ascend to meet 

The persons who ascend to meet the Lord, coming in the 
clouds with power and great glory, are representations of 
those states described in the Bible under the names of the 
Fathers before and after the Flood. Noah is seen in the midst 
of these, canopied by a rainbow ; on his right hand Shem, 
and on his left Japhet. These three persons represent Poetry, 
Painting, and Music, the three powers in man of conversing 
with Paradise which the Flood did not sweep away. Above 
Noah is the Church Universal, represented by a woman 
surrounded by infants. There is such a state in eternity : it 
is composed of the innocent civilised heathen and the 
uncivilised savage, who, having not the law, do by nature the 
things contained in the law. This state appears like a female 
crowned with stars, driven into the wilderness : she has the 


moon under her feet. The aged figure with wings, having a 
writing tablet, and taking account of the numbers who arise, 
is that Angel of the Divine Presence mentioned in Exodus 
xiv. c. 19 v. 

Around Noah, and beneath him, are various figures risen 
into the air. Among these are three females, representing 
those who are not of the dead, but of those found alive at 
the Last Judgment. They appear to be innocently gay and 
thoughtless, not being among the condemned, because ignorant 
of crime in the midst of a corrupted age. The Virgin Mary 
was of this class. A mother meets her numerous family in 
the arms of their father : these are representations of the 
Greek learned and wise, as also of those of other nations, 
such as Egypt and Babylon, in which were multitudes who 
shall meet the Lord coming in the clouds. 

The children of Abraham, or Hebrew Church, are repre- 
sented as a stream of figures, on which are seen stars, some- 
what like the Milky Way. They ascend from the earth, 
where figures kneel, embracing above the graves, and repre- 
sent religion, or civilised life, such as it is in the Christian 
Church, which is the offspring of the Hebrew. Just above 
the graves, and above the spot where the infants creep out 
of the ground (?) stand two a man and woman : these are the 
primitive Christians. The two figures in purifying flames, by 
the side of the Dragon's cavern, represent the latter state of 
the Church, when on the verge of perdition, yet protected by 
a flaming sword. Multitudes are seen ascending from the 
green fields of the blessed, in which a Gothic church is repre- 
sentative of true art (called ' Gothic ' in all ages, by those who 
follow the fashion, as that is called which is without shape 
or fashion). By the right hand of Noah, a woman with 
children represents the state called Laban the Syrian : it is 
the remains of civilisation in the state from whence Adam 
was taken. Also, on the right hand of Noah, a female 
descends to meet her lover or husband, representative of that 
love called friendship, which looks for no other heaven than 


the beloved, and in him sees all reflected as in a glass of 
eternal diamond. 

On the right hand of these rise the diffident and humble, 
and on their left a solitary woman with her infant. These are 
caught up by three aged men, who appear as suddenly 
emerging from the blue sky for their help. These three 
aged men represent divine providence, as opposed to and 
distinct from divine vengeance, represented by three aged 
men, on the side of the picture among the wicked, with 
scourges of fire. 

If the spectator could enter into these images in his ima- 
gination, approaching them on the fiery chariot of his con- 
templative thought ; if he could enter into Noah's rainbow, 
could make a friend and companion of one of these images 
of wonder, which always entreat him to leave mortal things 
(as he must know), then would he arise from the grave, then 
would he meet the Lord in the air, and then he would be 
happy. General knowledge is remote knowledge : it is in 
particulars that wisdom consists, and happiness too. Both in 
art and in life general masses are as much art as a pasteboard 
man is human. Every man has eyes, nose, and mouth ; this 
every idiot knows ; but he who enters into and discriminates 
most minutely the manners and intentions, the characters in 
all their branches, is the alone wise or sensible man ; and on 
this discrimination all art is founded. I entreat, then, that 
the spectator will attend to the hands and feet ; to the linea- 
ments of the countenance : they are all descriptive of charac- 
ter, and not a line is drawn without intention, and that most 
discriminate and particular. As poetry admits not a letter 
that is insignificant, so painting admits not a grain of sand, 
or a blade of grass insignificant much less an insignificant 
blur or mark. 

Above the head of Noah is Seth. This state, called Seth, 
is male and female, in a higher state of happiness than Noah, 
being nearer the state of innocence. Beneath the feet of Seth 
two figures represent the two seasons of Spring and Autumn, 



while, beneath the feet of Noah, four seasons represent the 
changed state made by the Flood. 

By the side of Seth is Elijah : he comprehends all the pro- 
phetic characters. He is seen on his fiery chariot, bowing 
before the throne of the Saviour. In like manner the figures of 
Seth and his wife comprehend the Fathers before the Flood, 
and their generations : when seen remote, they appear as one 
man. A little below Seth, on his right, are two figures, a 
male and a female, with numerous children. These represent 
those who were not in the line of the Church, and yet were 
saved from among the antediluvians who perished. Between 
Seth and these, a female figure represents the solitary state 
of those who, previous to the Flood, walked with God. 

All these rise towards the opening cloud before the throne, 
led onward by triumphant groups of infants. Between Seth 
and Elijah three female figures, crowned with garlands, 
represent Learning and Science, which accompanied Adam 
out of Eden. 

The cloud that opens, rolling apart from before the throne, 
and before the new heaven and the new earth, is composed of 
various groups of figures, particularly the four living creatures 
mentioned in Revelations as surrounding the throne. These 
I suppose to have the chief agency in removing the old heaven 
and the old earth, to make way for the new heaven and the 
new earth, to descend from the throne of God and of the 
Lamb. That living creature on the left of the throne gives 
to the seven Angels the seven vials of the wrath of God, 
with which they, hovering over the deeps beneath, pour out 
upon the wicked their plagues. The other living creatures 
are descending with a shout, and with the sound of the 
trumpet, and directing the combats in the upper elements. 
In the two corners of the picture : on the left hand, Apollyon 
is foiled before the sword of Michael ; and, on the right, the 
two witnesses are subduing their enemies. 

On the cloud are opened the books of remembrance of life 
and of death : before that of life, on the right, some figures 


bow in lamentation ; before that of death, on the left, the 
Pharisees are pleading their own righteousness. The one 
shines with beams of light, the other utters lightnings and 

A Last Judgment is necessary because fools flourish. 
Nations flourish under wise rulers, and are depressed under 
foolish rulers ; it is the same with individuals as with nations. 
Works of art can only be produced in perfection where the 
man is either in affluence or is above the care of it. Poverty 
is the fool's rod, which at last is turned on his own back. 
That is a Last Judgment, when men of real art govern, and 
pretenders fall. Some people, and not a few artists, have 
asserted that the painter of this picture would not have done 
so well if he had been properly encouraged. Let those who 
think so reflect on the state of nations under poverty, and 
their incapability of art. Though art is above either, the 
argument is better for affluence than poverty ; and, though 
he would not have been a greater artist, yet he would have 
produced greater works of art, in proportion to his means. 
A Last Judgment is not for the purpose of making bad men 
better, but for the purpose of hindering them from oppressing 
the good. 

Around the throne, heaven is opened and the nature of 
eternal things displayed, all springing from the Divine 
Humanity. All beams from Him : He is the bread and the 
wine ; He is the water of life. Accordingly, on each side of 
the opening heaven appears an Apostle : that on the right 
represents Baptism ; that on the left represents the Lord's 

All life consists of these two : throwing off error and 
knaves from our company continually, and receiving truth or 
wise men into our company continually. He who is out of 
the Church and opposes it is no less an agent of religion than 
he who is in it : to be an error, and to be cast out, is a part 
of God's design. No man can embrace true art till he has 
explored and cast out false art (such is the nature of mortal 

O 2 


things) ; or he will be himself cast out by those who have 
already embraced true art. Thus, my picture is a history of 
art and science, the foundation of society, which is humanity 
itself. What are all the gifts of the Spirit but mental gifts ? 
Whenever any individual rejects error, and embraces truth, 
a Last Judgment passes upon that individual. 

Over the head of the Saviour and Redeemer, the Holy 
Spirit, like a dove, is surrounded by a blue heaven, in which 
are the two cherubim that bowed over the ark ; for here the 
temple is open in heaven, and the ark of the covenant is a 
dove of peace. The curtains are drawn apart, Christ having 
rent the veil : the candlestick and the table of shew-bread 
appear on each side : a glorification of angels with harps 
surrounds the dove. 

The Temple stands on the mount of God. From it flows 
on each side a river of life, on whose banks grows the Tree of 
Life, among whose branches temples and pinnacles, tents and 
pavilions, gardens and groves, display Paradise, with its in- 
habitants walking up and down, in conversations concerning 
mental delights. Here they are no longer talking of what is 
good and evil, or of what is right or wrong, and puzzling 
themselves in Satan's labyrinth ; but are conversing with 
eternal realities, as they exist in the human imagination. 

We are in a world of generation and death, and this world 
we must cast off if we would be artists (?) such as Raphael, 
Michael Angelo, and the ancient sculptors. If we do not 
cast off this world, we shall be only Venetian painters, who 
will be cast off and lost from art. 

Jesus is surrounded by beams of glory, in which are seen 
all around Him infants emanating from Him : these represent 
the eternal births of intellect from the divine humanity. A 
rainbow surrounds the throne and the glory, in which youth- 
ful nuptials receive the infants in their hands. In eternity 
woman is the emanation of man ; she has no will of her own ; 
there is no such thing in eternity as a female will. 

On the side next Baptism are seen those called in the 


Bible Nursing Fathers and Nursing Mothers : they represent 
Education. On the side next the Lord's Supper, the Holy 
Family, consisting of Mary, Joseph, John the Baptist, 
Zacharias, and Elizabeth, receiving the bread and wine, among 
other spirits of the Just made perfect. Beneath these, a cloud 
of women and children are taken up, fleeing from the roiling 
cloud which separates the wicked from the seats of bliss. 
These represent those who, though willing, were too weak 
to reject error without the assistance and countenance of 
those already in the truth: for a man can only reject error 
by the advice of a friend, or by the immediate inspiration 
of God. It is for this reason, among many others, that I 
have put the Lord's Supper on the left hand of the throne, 
for it appears so at the Last Judgment for a protection. 

The painter hopes that his friends, Anytus, Melitus, and 
Lycon, will perceive that they are not now in ancient Greece ; 
and, though they can use the poison of calumny, the English 
public will be convinced that such a picture as this could never 
be painted by a madman, or by one in a state of outrageous 
manners ; as these bad men both print and publish by all the 
means in their power. The painter begs public protection, 
and all will be well. 

Men are admitted into heaven, not because they have 
curbed and governed their passions, or have no passions, but 
because they have cultivated their understandings. The 
treasures of heaven are not negations of passion, but realities 
of intellect, from which all the passions emanate, uncurbed in 
their eternal glory. The fool shall not enter into heaven, let 
him be ever so* holy : holiness is not the price of entrance 
into heaven. Those who are cast out are all those who, 
having no passions of their own, because no intellect, have 
spent their lives in curbing and governing other people's by 
the various arts of poverty, and cruelty of all kinds. The 
modern Church crucifies Christ with the head downwards. 
Woe, woe, woe to you, hypocrites ! Even murder, which 
the Courts of Justice (more merciful than the Church) are 


whispered to allow, is not done in passion, but in cool- 
blooded design and intention. 

Many suppose that, before the Creation, all was solitude and 
chaos. This is the most pernicious idea that can enter the 
mind, as it takes away all sublimity from the Bible, and limits 
all existence to creation and chaos to the time and space 
fixed by the corporeal, vegetative eye, and leaves the man who 
entertains such an idea the habitation of unbelieving demons. 
Eternity exists, and all things in eternity, independent of 
creation, which was an act of mercy. I have represented 
those who are in eternity by some in a cloud, within the 
rainbow that surrounds the throne. They merely appear as in 
a cloud, when anything of creation, redemption, or judgment, 
is the subject of contemplation, though their whole contem- 
plation is concerning these things. The reason they so appear 
is the humiliation of the reason and doubting selfhood, and 
the giving all up to inspiration. By this it will be seen that I 
do not consider either the just, or the wicked, to be in a 
supreme state, but to be, every one of them, states of the 
sleep which the soul may fall into in its deadly dreams of good 
and evil, when it leaves Paradise following the Serpent. 

Many persons, such as Paine and Voltaire with some of 
the ancient Greeks, say : ' We will not converse concerning 
good and evil ; we will live in Paradise and Liberty.' You 
may do so in spirit, but not in the mortal body, as you pretend 
till after a Last Judgment. For in Paradise they have no 
corporeal and mortal body : that originated with the Fall 
and was called Death, and cannot be removed but by a 
Last Judgment. While we are in the world of mortality, 
we must suffer the whole Creation groans to be delivered. 

There will be as many hypocrites born as honest men, and 
they will always have superior power in mortal things. You 
cannot have liberty in this world without what you call moral 
virtue, and you cannot have moral virtue without the subjec- 
tion of that half of the human race who hate what you call 
moral virtue. 


The nature of hatred and envy, and of all the mischiefs in 
the world, is here depicted. No one envies or hates one of 
his own party ; even the devils love one another in their own 
way. They torment one another for other reasons than hate 
or envy: these are only employed against the just. Neither 
can Seth envy Noah, or Elijah envy Abraham ; but they may 
both of them envy the success of Satan, or of Og, or Moloch. 
The horse never envies the peacock, nor the sheep the goat ; 
but they envy a rival in life and existence, whose ways and 
means exceed their own. Let him be of what class of 
animals he will, a dog will envy a cat who is pampered at 
the expense of his own comfort, as I have often seen. The 
Bible never tells us that devils torment one another through 
envy ; it is through this that they torment the just. But for 
what do they torment one another ? I answer : For the 
coercive laws of hell, moral hypocrisy. They torment a 
hypocrite when he is discovered they punish a failure in the 
tormentor who has suffered the subject of his torture to escape. 
In Hell, all is self-righteousness ; there is no such thing there 
as forgiveness of sin. He who does forgive sin is crucified as 
an abettor of criminals, and he who performs works of mercy, 
in any shape whatever, is punished and, if possible, destroyed 
not through envy, or hatred, or malice, but through self- 
righteousness, that thinks it does God service, which god is 
Satan. They do not envy one another : they contemn or 
despise one another. Forgiveness of sin is only at the 
judgment-seat of Jesus the Saviour, where the accuser is 
cast out, not because he sins, but because he torments the 
just, and makes them do what he condemns as sin, and what 
he knows is opposite to their own identity. 

It is not because angels are holier than men or devils that 
makes them angels, but because they do not expect holiness 
from one another, but from God only. 

The player is a liar when he says : ' Angels are happier 
than men, because they are better.' Angels are happier than 
men and devils, because they are not always prying after good 


and evil in one another, and eating the tree of knowledge for 
Satan's gratification. 

The Last Judgment is an overwhelming of bad art and 
science. Mental things are alone real : what is called 
corporeal nobody knows of; its dwelling-place is a fallacy, 
and its existence an imposture. Where is the existence 
out of mind, or thought ? where is it but in the mind of a 
fool ? Some people flatter themselves that there will be no 
Last Judgment, and that bad art will be adopted and mixed 
with good art that error or experiment will make a part of 
truth ; and they boast that it is its foundation. These people 
flatter themselves ; I will not flatter them. Error is created, 
truth is eternal. Error or creation will be burned up, and then, 
and not till then, truth or eternity will appear. It is burned up 
the moment men cease to behold it. I assert, for myself, that 
I do not behold the outward creation, and that to me it is 
hindrance and not action. ' What ! ' it will be questioned, 
'when the sun rises, do you not see a round disc of fire, 
somewhat like a guinea ? ' Oh ! no, no ! I see an innumerable 
company of the heavenly host, crying : ' Holy, holy, holy is 
the Lord God Almighty ! ' I question not my corporeal eye, 
any more than I would question a window concerning a sight. 
I look through it, and not with it. 

The Last Judgment [will be] when all those are cast away 
who trouble religion with questioning concerning good and 
evil, or eating of the tree of those v knowledges or reasonings 
which hinder the vision of God, turning all into a consuming 
fire. When imagination, art, and science, and all intellectual 
gifts, all the gifts of the Holy Ghost, are looked upon as of 
no use, and only contention remains to man ; then the 
Last Judgment begins, and its vision is seen by the eye 
of every one according to the situation he holds. 







THE aid of the photo-intaglio process has been called in to give 
the whole Job series as a thorough and important example of Blake's 
style. These photo-intaglios are, of course, line for line, and 
minutest touch for touch, the counterparts of their originals. They 
are smaller, but on the whole they may be safely put forward as 
giving a very sufficient idea of these, quite complete, indeed, in 
many of the most essential respects; and considering that the 
original publication is a rare and high-priced book, its reproduction 
here is a very valuable addition to our table of contents. 

Quite as valuable, though still in another way not quite perfect, 
are the original plates of the Songs also given. These were recovered 
by Mr. Gilchrist, being the only remnant of the series still in ex- 
istence on copper ; the rest having, it is believed, been stolen after 
Blake's death, and sold for old metal. They are, therefore, as abso- 
lutely the originals as those appearing in the copies printed by Blake ; 
and the reason why they must still be pronounced imperfect is that 
they were intended as a mere preparation for colouring by hand, as 
has been explained in the Life ; while, being here necessarily given 
without the colour, they cannot be said to embody Blake's intention 
in producing them. Much which may here seem unaccountably 
rugged and incomplete is softened by the sweet, liquid, rainbow tints 
of the coloured copies into a mysterious brilliancy which could never 
have been obtained over a first printing* of a neater or more exact 
kind ; body colour as well as transparent colour being used in the 
finishing. However, there will be no doubt among those who love 
Blake's works as to the advisability of including them here even in 
the rough ; and indeed, to any observer of poetic feeling, it is but the 
first glance at them which can prove really disappointing. Abundant 


beauty remains, even without the colour, in the wealth of lovely ever- 
varying lines, and plentiful overgrowth from the very heart of the 
painter, springing and clinging all round the beautiful verses. No 
littleness here because the scale of work is a small one. Almost any 
one of these pages might be painted, writing and all, on a space 
twenty feet high, and leave nothing to be desired as a grand 
decorative work. 

On comparing these Plates with the fac-similies of designs belong- 
ing to the same class of Blake's works which are contained in the 
first volume, it will be at once apparent that the latter are generally 
extremely successful as reproductions of his style. His work of 
other kinds, more dependent on engraving in lines, was far more 
difficult to deal with by the process adopted ; but everywhere the aim 
has been towards the utmost fidelity, whether the fac-simile was on the 
exact scale of the original or not. 

In concluding the last of the brief prefatory notes to the various 
sections of this second volume, the writer of them believes he may 
trust not only to have expressed his own views on the matters to 
which they relate, but that these are also in harmony with the inten- 
tions and fully-matured plans of his friend the author of the Life. 
He had had many conversations with Mr. Gilchrist regarding the 
completion of this cherished work ; and must have undertaken this 
slight supplementary task with a still heavier heart, had he not been 
sure that he agreed with the author of the work in all points con- 
cerning its subject, and that there was no danger of any opinion 
being expressed in the few closing passages, which he would un- 
willingly have endorsed. It may be said on this last page that, 
at least, neither love of Blake in its author, nor love of its author in 
those on whom the issuing of his work devolved, has been wanting 
to make it a true memorial of both. 

[D. G. R.] 

London. ftJjIiskecUs tKe Act directs MarcH.8. 189-5 by Will, am Biake N'SFountolrCc 

Tkus did Job con.tjn.uall 

re v/as aMan m tKe V^A ^"J * one rkat reared God 

Land of Us AvIioseName VlKe Letter K.J!^k !*/. . e^Kewed Evil 

1 L Jt. lliat-'Man. TKe Spirit g'veth Lite 

Job ^thatJ ,1 was born, unto KnuSevea 

perfect & tipri^ht , t , s SpmtuJiy D,sm e d I 5 onS ^Jliree Dau 


as^yet witk me .When, my Children 
were about me 

& tky Daughters were eating & d r-mkin\ Vi ne in tkeir 
eldest Brothers ViouSe ^ bekojd tkere came a great wmd froiutKeWi 
f <^Smote upcatKc four faces oi cKe KQUSJE-. & JtfcJI upon the_young Men &tkey areDc-ad ) 


London. . PuHiskfd 3.1 

2S by Vt/ill-ffLnJv /V'J f 

And I only am escaped aiorse to teS! tiiee J^y^ 

While Kewasvet Speaking 
x there also another &.sa.i<i ' 

The fire of God is la.l]eR from Heaven &-. Kark burned up the {locks & th. 
YoungMen &: consumed, tkera c^c I oalv dm escaped alon.e to tell tKee 


Tken, weatSatan forth. ironrlke presreiice of tke j_,ord 

"Ai It ff'if vJ luw'it hu heJi 

/ \ c* 


\/ *v 




e ^:>** 

>r**u f 

And 5nxote Job witK sore Boils 
from tke sole of kis foot to tke crown of lus Kead 



WHatlskalf we recieve Good 
at tke kand of Cod &,skall we not also 
recieve Evil 

Aitd wkeritkey lifted up tkejr eyes alar off &. knew Kjm not 
tey lifted up tKeir voice & wept.<Sctkej rent every Mart His 
mantle &spnnkled dustupon tkeirHeadsr towards Heaven. 

Yr have keard of tke Patience ol Job and Have seen, the end of the Lord --JaJLvJs, 
jLc<tcji..Pu.bluhed. ca the Act directs M^rch 8.182$ by William B lake 

) /3taAe tnvdl &. ^sculpt, 


Lo let that nigkt be solitary 
& let no loyral voice come therein. 

Let the Day perish wherein I wa.s Born. 

nights & none spake a word unto liim for tKey^awtkat Kis grief 


Spirit pafsed betor 
kair-of *mr flesrkst 

Butke knowetktKewa^ tdat 1 take 
ehhe hatH tried me I .shall come forthlike go'd 

Have piLy uponme !Havq ptty upon me . Oje nty f 
for the Kind of God hatk toucked me 

IkoiigK Ke s'ay me yet will I trust in Kim 

"Ike Just Upright Man is laughed to scorn 

Marvtkat u born of aWomanisof Few daj^ & fu![ f troutle 
i\e comctkop like a. flower &ts cut down Ke fleetk also is a. 
continuetknot .And dost tk ou open thine eyes upon Suck a one 
^ /A { <^ &brm S est J ne l ntoiud ?me ,vtw,tktl.. : 



^^^^^ of tke wicked 
:>rt.tkejoy of tKe hypocrite is 

out for 4 moment \ 

Satan. himselfis transformed into v> Anjti of LigKt <5clusMinUters mtoM.wsters- 

Wrtk Dre&ms upon ny bed tkoa Dearest me <feaffngktest me 

j ^jdojou persecute m aa God &are not sati^ myflesk.Uh that mvword<r \-, 
\ ^ C P rmtc imaBook tU they were grav C Rwitkaniroa P CR& | ea dintke rock for ever JlS 
^ ] ,hr I .know that my Redeemer kyeth & tkafc ke ?halt stand in the Utter days upon /M 
/ tke Eartk & alter my .^kiix destroy th-ouThij? body yet in. tny fleik skaltl jee God 
v wkojn Ishallseefor Mysel^/anXrmtie eyej? shall beWi&motAnotkertKo ' * 

that 15 calkdgjj^j r^^r^Ki pP e ^_ 

i&./giS-Aj, W,U"BtaJte/VJ fountain Cc 

1 am loun.g<S^ye are very Old whe re Fore I was afraid 

'<fe^ Lo at! tlies-e tiling worketk God oftenfomes wiUi Man to br!n^ 
H H back hisSoul fromtke pit to be en 

;witk tKeli^liJ: oftlie Jivin;; 
?L ^ X 

answered Job out of tKeWhirJwmd 

London. JP^Ustie Jo* the /fct direct? MtrctiS.'lSZS &y 


g Stars sang together, & all tke 
Sons of God shouted, for io 

any understand Hie 
^e noise of KJS Tabernacle 

ReKold now JjenetnotkwKick I made \\jtk til 

Kast [uH'ilied the Judment :of tke Wicked 

And. my Servant Job shall pray for you 

rnedtke captivity of Jol> vhen he prayed fen- hts Friends 

one also gave jiim a piece oFMoac 

ewietnb erect us in. our low estal 
Forhi.s'Mercv endurcth Tor ever 

s thcAct dirtccs March 4:t<SzS^/jy Wi.U<.am Btuke A'J Fc 


How precious are tKy tjkouohts 

unto me O (jo cl 
great is the suvnoftkem 

Women fa*r as tfte DaugHtensr of Jot 
and dc tker Fattier gave them Inheritance 
among; tl-teir Bretkren. 


If 1 ascend up intoHeaven tkou. art tKere 

ll beKoJiTkou. 
art tkere 

/Sotlie Lord blefsecl tke latter end of Job 
more tKau the beginning 

WV$\^ ^ en four Generations 
So Job died 
being old 
J! oi days 

London J'ub/ishrsia* tJ-c/lc/: L/Srrcr&Sfwr/, - 

[THE ensuing Descriptive Catalogue a humble tribute to the 
soaring genius of the author of the ' Descriptive Catalogue ' is a 
complete list, as far as it was found practicable to compile one, of all 
Blake's original works. It was drawn up for the first edition of this 
book, 1863 : it has now been carried on up to the present date, 
though with less particularity of research. This Catalogue takes no 
count of engravings; though it does include the works issued as 
separate designs in Blake's peculiar method of colour-printing. The 
term 'colour-printed' indicates these works ; enough has been said 
m this curious question in other parts of the book to absolve me 
from discussing it here. 

The Catalogue was compiled by me, in the very great majority of 
instances, from immediate personal inspection of the works referred 
to ; to the owners of which, uniformly courteous and accommodating 
to the utmost, my thanks are most sincerely tendered. In other 
instances, I have been indebted to Mr. Gilchrist's notes, or to other 
sources of information. The works which have not been thus seen, 
and some which, from one circumstance or another, have been seen 
hurriedly or imperfectly, are, as an unavoidable consequence, referred 
to in less detail than their relative importance might be found to 
deserve. The interest attaching to the great collection of Blake's 
works formed by his almost solitary purchaser, Mr. Butts, has in- 
duced me to specify which were once his, even in the instances where 
they have passed out of the family. The like is done with the works 
belonging to Mr. Linnell. 

The larger examples are roughly indicated in the catalogue ; the 
standard of largeness for a water-colour or pencil-drawing being, of 
course, different from that for a tempera-picture. Something over a 
foot for the former, and towards two feet for the latter, may be 
assumed as the average minimum to which the sign of considerable 


size is attached ; but this has been roughly, not accurately, and no 
doubt not always uniformly, estimated. 

The reader should also bear in mind that the exact relative ex- 
cellence of the several works cannot be fully expressed work by work. 
It has already been explained elsewhere that the most complete, solid, 
and powerful works in colour left by Blake are to be found among 
his colour-printed designs. His water-colours are all, comparatively 
speaking, washy and slight : but some have a general character of 
strength, brilliancy, &c. of execution; and these may be spoken 
of below, with the needful implied reservation, as strong and 

Some catalogue on the plan of the ensuing is peculiarly necessary 
in the case of Blake. His life consisted in imaginative insight, and 
in the embodiment of that insight in the form of art. The list of his 
paintings and designs is therefore a most important part of his life. 
I am in hopes that the extraordinary amount of original thought and 
invention which belongs to these works will be, to some extent, appre- 
ciable even through so imperfect a medium as that of an annotated 
Catalogue, and will render this somewhat less tedious to look through 
than would be the case with regard to most or indeed to almost all 
other artists. 

I may add that ten of the subjects specified in this Catalogue have 
been etched (or lithographed) by Mr. William Bell Scott in his pub- 
lication named William Blake (Chatto and Windus, 1878). They 
are The Ascent of the Just ; the Sea and Rainbow (which 
Mr. Scott identifies with the Deluge ; the Semi-human Elephants ; 
The Nativity ; St. Matthew ; The Babylonian Woman on the Seven- 
headed Beast; The Creation of Eve; Adam and Eve watched 
by Satan ; the Eating of the Forbidden Fruit; Adam's Vision of the 




LIST No. I. 

* Means considerable size. The works not otherwise defined are known or assumed 

to be water-colours. To designs which have been engraved the dates of the engravings 

or books are given, unless anything is known to the contrary. 



1. 1778-9. The Penance of Jane Shore in St Paul's Church. 

Varnished Water-colour. See p. 31, Vol. I., and Blake's 
Descriptive Catalogue, p. 163, Vol. II. 

2. Circa 1779. King Edward and Queen Eleanor. See p. 31, 

Vol. I. 

3. 1780. The Death of Earl Godwin. See p. 35, Vol. I. 

4. 1784. War unchained by an Angel Fire, Pestilence, and 

Famine following. [Butts.] See p. 54, Vol. I. 

5. 1784. A Breach in a City the Morning after a Battle. See 

p. 54, Vol. I. 

The colour slight, but the tone strong and full, with the dark- 
ness of earliest dawn. Women lie mourning over the heaped 
dead : a widow bemoaning her knight, and a woman and aged 
man proceeding upon their search, are the chief figures, the 
subject being prolonged far into the background. An eagle has 
settled to the left, watching for the departure of the mourners, 
impatient till his banquet begins. Able and impressive. (This was 
called in the Catalogue of the Bicknell sale, 1863, 'The Plague' : 


decidedly a mistake.) Mr. Alfred Aspland possesses another 
version of the same subject, with a date which may perhaps be 

6. 1785. The Bard, from Gray. See p. 56, Vol. I., p. 152, Vol. II. 

7. 1785. Joseph's Brethren bowing before him. See p. 57, 

Vol. I. 

The colour does not play any very considerable part in this 
and the two companion designs. The brothers form a grand, 
sheaf-like group. 

8. 1785. Joseph ordering Simeon to be bound. See preceding 

No., and p. 57. Vol. I. 

A sketch water-colour of the same composition is also extant. 

9. 1785. Joseph making himself known to his Brethren. 

Remarkable for its bursting spontaneity of emotion. The 
figure of Joseph is especially pure and impulsive. (Nos. 7, 8, 
and 9, appeared in the International Exhibition, 1862.) 

10. 1790. The Flight into Egypt. [Butts.] Tempera. 

An Angel accompanies Joseph, and two others follow the Virgin 
and Child, while the air around them is peopled with Cherubs. 
Pretty enough : surface greatly cracked, but now partially 

11. 1790. Christ blessing the little Children. [Butts.] Tempera. 

Fine. The surface cracked, but repaired. 

12. 1790.' Death and Hell teem with Life.' 

Carefully finished : engraved in the ' Marriage of Heaven and 
Hell," leaf 10. 

13. 1793. A young man gazing remorsefully upon another bound 

upon a rock. [Linnell.] 

Similar to the head-piece of the ' America/ but without the 
female figure, and a good deal larger. Darkish tone of 

14. 1793. Design for the Frontispiece to the 'Daughters of 

Albion.' [Linnell.] 
Excellent in colour. 

15. 1793 or 1795. ^Nebuchadnezzar. [Butts.] Colour-printed. 

Crawling on all fours in his shaggy insanity. The tawny 
beard trails across the left hand : the nails are literally Mike 
birds' claws,' and the flesh tints very red and 'beefy.' The 
glaring eyes, too, have almost lost their human character. The 
background represents a thick jungle. A fine, wild conception. 
There are other impressions of this print, which (as in similar 
cases afterwards named) differ in the details and merit of the 
colour and handling. The figure is almost identical with the 
one engraved at p. 88, Vol. I. 

1 6. 1794. Design for the Title Page to the ' Europe.' [Linnell.] 

Includes a human figure not given in the engraving. The 
serpent, as usual, is admirable. 


17. 1794. Design from the 'Europe' of a Man at a Forge, with 

a Woman and a Youth. [Linnell.] 
Carefully coloured. 

1 8. 1794. A Young Man rescuing a Woman and Girl from a Con- 


Identical, or nearly so, with the tail-piece to the ' Europe.' 
The colour rather harsh. 

19. 1795. The Lazar House, from Milton ; called also 'The House 

of Death,' by Blake. [Butts.] Colour-printed. 

Very powerful and awful. Three of the diseased are writhing 
upon a mat on the ground, two others are behind. Death and 
Despair are also present, as in Milton. The former, a vast figure, 
with closed eyes, a prodigious beard like tongues of flame, and 
arrow-like fire darting around him, appears at the summit of the 
group, with outstretched arms and scroll, or, perhaps, winding- 
sheet. The latter is a livid-green man, with a long bolt or goad 
in his hand, eyeing his victims with stony scrutiny. I have seen 
a duplicate of this great work, paler in tint. 

20. 1795. Elohim creating Adam. [Butts.] Colour-printed. 

The Creator is an amazingly grand figure, worthy of a prim- 
eval imagination or intuition. He is struggling, as it were, 
above Adam, who lies distended on the ground, a serpent twined 
around one leg. The colour has a terrible power in it ; and the 
entire design is truly a mighty one perhaps on the whole the 
greatest monument extant of Blake's genius. It looks as if he 
had literally seen (as he said; ' those wonderful originals called 
in the sacred Scriptures the Cherubim, which were sculptured 
and painted on walls of temples, towers, cities, palaces/ and 
as if this were a reproduction of some such stupendous 

21. 1795. Lamech and his two Wives. [Butts.] Colour-printed. 

Lamech looks with horrid remorse upon the young man he 
has slain : - his wives, beautifully grouped, cling together in 
dismay. Extra Blakeian in character and drawing. There is 
a great effect of dark sky and hills, their edges dimly defined 
in glimmering light. 

22. 1795. The Good and Evil Angels struggling for possession of 

a Child. [Butts.] Colour-printed. 

The Good Angel holds the Child the Evil one, enveloped in 
flames, seeks to seize it ; his eyes are mere sightless balls. A 
strong specimen of Blake's solid colour, and energetic form 
and action. 

23. 1795. Elijah mounted in the Fiery Chariot. Colour-printed. 

Elijah lays hold of the rein with his right hand : his left is 
upon a book placed on his knees. He is draped but Elisha, 
who stands before him, with joined hands, lost in a flood of beard, 
is perfectly naked, and looks as ancient as Elijah. The horses 
seem compact of fire ; fire flows out in i-'place of chariot-wheels ; 
behind Elijah, a sphere of rolling red flame ; for sky, a blaze of 
VOL. II. p 


yellow. A magnificent work awful and preterhuman in its 
impression, even to the length of the Prophets' beards. tThe 
colour very solid, and austerely luminous. A duplicate of this 
is somewhat more positive and less excellent in colour. Another 
duplicate has black, instead of yellow, behind and upon the 
rays. Given in Vol. I. Chap. XIV. 

24. 1795. Newton. [Butts.] Colour-printed. 

A sitting naked figure among the rocks, stooping with com- 
passes, wherewith he is measuring on the ground. Remarkably 
grand in action and manner, and full in the colour of the sky 
and rocky bank, for the peculiar execution of which see p. 421, 
Vol. I. 

25. 1797. Young's Night Thoughts. 

Blake has taken the folio edition of Young, two volumes, an 
inlaid copy, and has executed his designs, 537 in number, so as 
to form a margin round the text. See Vol. I. p. 136. 

26. 1799 (?). The Last Supper. [Butts.] Tempera. 

The group are reclined at table in the antique mode a point 
seldom or never introduced in art. Judas is so absorbed in 
counting over the thirty pieces of silver covertly in the palm of 
his hand that he remains deaf to what is being said. The effect 
of the lights scintillates upon a dark ground. A very interesting 
and, on the whole, fine picture : probably the one exhibited in 
the Academy (p. 1401, Vol. I.). 

27. 1799. Charity. [Butts.] Tempera. 

Charity is embodied in a female form : there are various other 
figures in the composition. 

28. 1799. Rachel giving Joseph the Coat of many Colours (?). 

[Butts.] Tempera. 

The aged Israel, the still blooming and lovely Rachel, and the 
naked boy Joseph, form a fine group of Blake's patriarchal style. 
Golden, but nearly colourless, in tint, with a blue sky. The 
supposed ' coat of many colours ' is only coloured with a blue 
arabesque pattern. 

29. 1799. The Adoration of the Kings. [Butts.] Tempera. 

A pretty, sweet picture, with abundance of rich material. 

30. 1799. ' The sons of God saw the daughters of men that they 

were fair; and they took them wives of all which they 
chose.' (?) [Butts.] Tempera. 

An old man, a woman, an angel, and six children, under a 

fruit-tree; the woman is a charming figure. Interesting in 

conception, if the subject is as surmised. 

31. 1799 (?). St. Matthew. [Butts.] Tempera. 

Vigorously conceived. The Angel, typically associated with 
St. Matthew, is showing him a roll, written with blood-red 
characters of the Hebrew type the record of the Lamb slain 
from the foundation of the world. Matthew starts back amazed 
at the riches of the grace of God. 


32. 1799 (?). St. Mark. [Butts.] Tempera (?). 

33. 1799. St. Luke. [Butts.] Tempera. 

He holds a pen, and is accompanied by the typical bull. 
Almost destroyed in surface. This picture, being dated, may be 
presumed to fix the date of the three companion-figures. 

34. 1799 (?). St. John. [Butts.] Tempera (?). 

35. 1799. The child Christ taught by the Virgin to read. [Butts.] 


An inferior specimen. 

36. Circa 1799 (?).' A spirit vaulting from a cloud 

To turn and wind a fiery Pegasus.' 


Unfinished. See p. 158, Vol. II., Blake's Descriptive 
Catalogue and No. 79. 

The date is conjectured, from the statement (as above) that the 
work, one of Blake's first ' frescoes/ was painted many years 
before the date of the Catalogue ( 1 809). 

37. 1800. The Crucifixion the Soldiers casting lots for the 

Garments. [Butts.] 

Peculiarly treated the Crucified Saviour, with the two thieves, 
being seen from behind, and the ground which lies before 
the cross appearing beyond. Very poetic, pictorial, and solemn 
in darkling effect. The soldiers form the foreground group, and 
have plenty of character and varied action. See p. 161, Vol. II. 

38. Circa 1801. ^EIGHTEEN HEADS of the Poets. Tempera, or 

possibly oil. See p. 166, Vol. I. 

These heads are nearly life-size, each painted on a separate 
canvas ; the heads themselves almost or quite colourless, with 
the character of sculptural busts, the accessories mostly coloured, 
within decorative limits, and illustrative of the author's genius or 
works. An interesting series. 

(a) Homer. 

Younger than he is usually represented, and full of life ; one 
of the finest of the set, the colour well harmonised. Bay- wreath. 
Curiously enough, the illustrative accessories selected are the 
Mouse and Frog, very cleverly done, indicating no higher 
achievement in poetry than the Batrachomyomachia. 

() Euripides, or another of the Greek Tragedians. 

A good head. Oak-wreath. Accessories from classic legend. 

(c) Lucan. 

Accessories Caesar, and the Decapitation of Pompey. 

(d) Dante. 

Vivid and grand : wreath and framing of bay, fine in decorative 
arrangement. Accessory, Ugolino. 

(c} Chaucer. 

Accessories, the Wife of Bath, &c. 

P 2 


(/) Spenser. 

Accessories from the Faery Queen. 

(*) Tasso. 

Accessories, a figure of a woman in prayer, &c. 
(h) Shakespeare. 

Like the Droeshout portrait, which Blake rated highly (see 
p. 392, Vol. I.). Accessories, Hamlet and the Ghost. 

(/) Sidney. 

A good, portrait-like head, in armour. 
(/) Camoens. 

Undisguisedly one-eyed : good. Accessory, an anchor. 
(k) Milton. 

More than usually worked up. Wreath of bay and oak inter- 
twined. Accessories, the Serpent holding the apple in his 
mouth, and a harp against a palm-tree. 

(/) Dryden. 

Good ; greatly dilapidated at one side. Accessory, Alexander's 

(m) Otway. 

An able, thoughtful head. Accessories, the City of Venice, 
unspeakably unlike it, and the appeal of Belvidera and Jaffier. 

{n) Pope. 

Wreath, ivy and other leaves. Accessories, Heloisa praying, 
and another female figure not easy to identify ; both agreeable. 

(o) Young. 

Wreath, bramble and palm. Accessory, a figure which may 
stand for a Recording Angel. 

(p) Cowper. 

Still more colourless than usual. Wreath of lily-of-the- 
valle'y. Accessories, a dog and a school-boy. 

(q) Voltaire. 

Young and extremely sprightly. The wreath is distinguished 
from all the others by the variety and brightness of its floral 
colours honeysuckle, convolvulus, pimpernel, &c. ; a rather 
curious distinction, as one is not at all accustomed to associate 
the idea of Voltaire with any special vividness of natural beauty. 
Accessories, the Pucelle d'Orle'ans, (disappointing,) and some 
(r) Hayley. 

A pleasing, youngish face. 
39. 1802. Portrait of Mr. Butts, Sen. [Butts.] Miniature. 

Half-length. An unpretending but by no means unsatisfactory 
example of miniature-painting. The sitter, with powdered hair 
and dark eyes, in an artillery uniform, holds a book. See Vol. I. 
p. 1 80, showing that this portrait was painted (wholly or partly) 
without nature. 


40. 1802 (?). *Adam naming the Beasts. [Butts.] Tempera. 

Bust : front face : life-size. See p. 176 7, Vol. I. as to this 
subject, as frontispiece to Hayley's Ballads. 

41. 1802. *Eve naming the Birds. [Butts.] Tempera. 

Bust : front-face : life-size. The pretty turn of thought 
evidenced in this as connected with the preceding subject will 
not be missed. 

42. 1802. Portrait of the Rev. John Johnson. Miniature. See 

p. 171, Vol. I. 

43. 1803. The Riposo (Repose in the flight to Egypt). [Butts.] 

Described in Blake's letter, p. 184, Vol. I. The Riposo, 
No. 161, does not strictly correspond with the description, nor 
yet No. 76. 

44. 1803. *St. Paul preaching in Athens. [Butts.] Colour-printed. 

Mentioned on p. 184, Vol. I. 

45. 1803. *The three Maries, with the Angel at the Sepulchre. 


The Angel is just floating above the ground : the Maries, 
arrested by the sight, hold together, unknowing what to think. 
Very fine and mystic-looking. 

46. 1803. *The Death of the Virgin Mary (inscribed) 'Then saith 

He to the disciple, " Behold thy Mother ! " And from that 
hour that disciple took her unto his own home.' [Butts.] 

Mary has just yielded up her breath : Angels attend her bed, 
head and foot. Above her, and within a rainbow composed of 
angel-heads, stands John. Impressive : the figures standing out 
almost wholly colourless upon a more than usually high-coloured 

47. 1803. *The Death of St. Joseph (inscribed) * Into Thine 

hand I commend my spirit : Thou hast redeemed me, O 

Lord God of Truth.' [Butts.] 

The companion design to the preceding, strictly corresponding 
with it in such details as the rainbow. The group of Joseph 
tended by Jesus and Mary is a fine one, and the effect of light 
and colour very vivid : though the general quality of execution 
aimed at is not in all respects that most suitable to Blake. 

1803. The Sacrifice of Jephthah's Daughter. [Butts.] 

The loveliness and pathos of innocent girlhood could not be 
more gloriously expressed than in this figure of the fair young 
creature, perfectly naked and rose-chapleted, kneeling upon a 
lofty altar, full-fronting the spectator. Swathes of rushes for 
burning are behind her : at either side her tambourine and lyre. 
Two maidens stand sorrowfully at each angle of the altar-.. 
Jephthah kneels in front, his back turned, his arms wide-spread, 
invoking the Divine sanction upon the tremendous deed. To 
right and to left, clouds, here louring in brown, there blue, 
droop like heavy folds of curtain. This ranks among Blake's 
noblest designs. 


49. 1803. 'I was naked.' 'Unto Adam and his Wife did the 

Lord God make coats of skins.' [Butts.] 

1 The Angel of the Divine Presence' (so phrased by Blake) 
encircles with downward arms Adam and Eve, both of whom 
clasp hands of humble gratitude : the Eve is exquisitely modest. 
Palm-trees over-canopy the group ; an altar burns at each side. 
Very fine in quality, though the execution, especially in the 
figures, is not carried far. 

50. 1803. Ruth, the dutiful Daughter-in-law. [Butts.] 

Extremely beautiful : the figures of Ruth herself and Naomi, 
the former clasping the latter round the waist, could not be 
designed with a more noble and pure simplicity. Orpah turns 
back. There is a good deal of landscape material in the 
background, of a rather primitive kind, yet pleasing. 

51. *Circa 1803 (?). Satan calling up his Legions Paradise Lost. 

Tempera. See p. 159, Vol. II. 

Blake terms this and Nos. 81 and 82 'Experiment Pictures.' 
All of them, it would seem, were free from oil-vehicle. Date 
conjectured, as in the case of No. 33. A highly finished and noble 

52. Circa 1804 (?). The same. Tempera. 

Referred to at p. 159, Vol. II. An elaborate, fine, and richly- 
coloured example, now half-ruined. The Satan, a nude figure 
standing on a, rock, is not like the Fuseli type in such subjects. 
The composition is full of figures, flames, and rocks. 

53. 1804. *Thomas Hayley. Tempera, or possibly oil. 

The son of William Hayley, and pupil of Flaxman. Medallion 
portrait, life-size. 

54. 1804 (?). Thomas Hayley. Sepia. 

Carefully finished. Full-faced, finger on chin. Has been 
bound into a MS. of Cunningham's ' Life of Blake.' 

55. 1804. A Man at an Anvil talking to a Spirit. 

Published in the ( Jerusalem.' 

56. 1804. Three personages, one of them crowned, sunk in despon- 


Published in the 'Jerusalem, 1 p. 51 ; lugubrious in colour. In 
the water-colour, this very characteristic design has the names 
' Vala, Hyle, Skofeld,' written under the figures Vala being the 
crowned one. Might the name Skofeld be derived from the 
soldier Scholfield, who laid an information against Blake for 
seditious words ? Given in Vol. I. Chap. XXI. 

57. 1804. The same design as the preceding. [Linnell.] 

Of larger size, and without the names. Very good. 

58. 1805. 'After these things came Jesus and His disciples into 

the land of Judaea ; and there he tarried with them, and bap- 
tized/ John iii. 22. [Butts]. Water-colour with pen outline. 

Evidently treated with a kind of symbolic bearing upon 
baptism as a part of the Christian scheme ; Christ stands as 


baptiser at a font, as it were in a church. There are several 
other figures. The colour is pale and sweet. The account 
printed at p. 278 seems to show that more than usual pains were 
bestowed upon this water-colour. 

59. 1805. Moses striking the rock. [Butts.] 

Not very impressive at first sight, yet powerful in expression of 
the subject in the group of thirsting Israelites, some dozen or less 
in number. The principal male figure is taking measures for 
helping an infant first. 

60. Circa 1805. Fire. [Butts.] 

Blake, the supreme painter of fire, in this his typical picture of 
fire, is at his greatest ; perhaps it is not in the power of art to 
transcend this treatment of the subject in its essential features. 
The water-colour is unusually complete in execution. The con- 
flagration, horrid in glare, horrid in gloom, fills the background ; 
its javelin-like cones surge up amid conical forms of buildings 
(' Langham Church steeples,' they may be called, as in No. 175). 
In front, an old man receives from two youths a box and a 
bundle which they have recovered ; two mothers and several 
children crouch and shudder, overwhelmed ; other figures behind 
are running about, bewildered what to do next. 

6i.l805. *Plague. [Butts.] Water-colour with pen outline. 

The admirable design engraved to face p. 55, Vol. I. : slight 
in colour. 

62. 1805. Pestilence The Death of the First-born. [Butts.] 

Water-colour with pen outline. 

A vast scaled demon, green and many-tinted, pours deadly 
influence from his outstretched arms. The figures rushing 
together scared, by pale torch-light, to find themselves each 
bereaved, are powerfully rendered. In the centre, between the 
demon's legs, is seen a small Israelitish house, with an Angel in 
the doorway. Dark effect. 

63. 1805. *Famine. [Butts.] 

Very terrible and grimly quiet, though not remarkable in 
executive respects ; the colour laid-in pale. A child seeks the 
breast of its dead mother ; a young woman paces about objectless 
and desolate ; a man strips with his teeth the flesh off the arm of 
a naked corpse, while a woman, with famine-wrung features, 
turns away in horror. For scenery, a gaunt, leafless tree ; the 
entrance to a savagely bare building like a sepulchre ; and 
unclad hills, under an ordinary sky. 

64. 1805. The Whirlwind Ezekiel's vision of the Cherubim and 

Eyed Wheels. [Butts.] 

Not sightly in execution, but the Eyed Wheels very curious 
and living. The Deity is above ; Ezekiel, very small compara- 
tively to the other figures, lies below. 

65. 1805. *Samson bursting his bonds. [Butts.] 

Samson has too much of an operatic aspect, yet the essentials 
of the subject are fully rendered. Dalilah, behind him, stares in 


dismay at the upshot of her conspiracy ; three mailed Philistines 
make off to the left, crowding each other in their precipitation 
an admirable group for consentaneous motion. The colour is 
rather neutral. 

66. 1805. *Samson subdued. [Butts.] 

Energetic and fine composition and actions. Of Samson the 
back only is seen ; he lies wholly naked, and quite hairless now 
save towards the nape of the neck, slumbering upon the knees 
of Dalilah. herself semi-nude, and with an air of triumph. Three 
Philistine warriors, very carelessly drawn, look in timidly from 
behind a curtain. Pale in colour. 

67. 1805. Noah and the Rainbow. [Butts.] 

Mentioned in the account printed at p. 278, Vol. II. 

68. 1805. 'Thou art fairer than the children of men. . . . Gird 

Thee with Thy sword upon Thy thigh, O Thou Most Mighty, 
according to Thy worship and renown.' Psalm xlv. [Butts.] 
Water-colour over a strong ground of pencilling. 

Pale, and with a slovenly aspect, through the method of execution, 
though fine upon inspection. The Son of God is represented 
seated in heaven, reading in a book ; two Angels are beside Him, 
with grounded swords swathed in flame. These figures stand out 
upon a sky strong in rayed light. 

69. 1805. The Four-and -Twenty Elders casting their Crowns 

before the Divine Throne. [Butts.] 

A determined effort on Blake's part is evident here to realize 
the several features of the transcendent vision ; the Divine 
Being, ' like a jasper and a sardine stone' in hue, the creatures 
' full of eyes before and behind,' and the like. A telling success 
in an almost impracticable attempt. 

70. 1805. The Wise and Foolish Virgins. [Butts.] 

Mentioned in the account printed at p. 278, Vol. II. 

71. 1805. The King of Babylon. 'Hell from beneath is moved 

for thee, to meet thee at thy coming.' Isaiah xiv. 9. [Butts.] 
Mentioned in the account printed at p. 278, Vol. II. 

72. 1805. God judging Adam. [Butts.] Colour-printed. 

Mentioned in the account printed at p. 278, Vol. II. 

73. 1805. * Christ appearing.' [Butts.] Colour-printed. 

Mentioned in the account, p. 278, Vol. II. Perhaps connected 
with the Tempera (No. 164) of Christ appearing to the Apostles 
after the Resurrection. 

74. 1805. The Horse. Oil-picture (?) on copper. 

See p. 224 5, Vol. I. A fine miniature-like painting of the 
admirable engraved subject, some four inches or less in height. 
Coloured in yellowish-grey half-tints. 

75. 1805. War. [Butts.] 

Mentioned in the account, p. 278. Vol. II. 


76. 1806. *The Repose of the Holy Family; also named The 

Humility of our Saviour. Water-colour^ only half-painted. 

The fugitives are reposing under a palm-tree ; their donkey 
drinks of the stream ; an animal shaggy and bristly enough to 
illustrate the ' doctrine of correspondences,' as though he repre- 
sented so much pabulum of thistles and stubble. The varied 
landscape background is the most pleasurable feature of this 
water-colour, a poor one in surface handling. 

77. 1806. Jaques and the wounded Stag, from ' As You Like It.' 

This water-colour appears in a volume of Shakespeare, now 
belonging to Mr. Macmillan. It is far from being a good design ; 
the lavish display of blood upon the stag being the most re- 
markable thing about it. 

78. 1806. Hamlet and the Ghost. In neutral tints. 

In the same volume as the preceding. Hamlet kneels, as the 
Ghost casts a last unforgettable look at him before parting. One 
of the finest specimens of Blake's art. Given in Vol. I. chap. 

79. 1806 (?).. 

' A spirit vaulting from a cloud 
To turn and wind a fiery Pegasus.' 

In the same volume as the two preceding. The design looks 
unaccountable enough, but must be the same as that of the 
fresco, No. 36. There is a rearing horse, a man floating and 
holding a lasso, a woman above on a cloud with a book, and a 
rising sun, 

80. 1806. Design for the Dedication to Blair's 'Grave.' 

Executed with most special care and completeness in pale 
semi-neutral tints ; a very beautiful work. The subject is the 
Deliverance of the Human Soul from Death, and the Ascension 
of the Just. Above are two angels, one sheathing the sword, 
another holding the unequally-poised balance and a sealed roll ; 
a third descends with a key to unlock the fetters of the grave. 
A mother with her adolescent and infant family rises to the 
left ; a man and children to the right, their chains riven, clasp 
their upraised hands in thankfulness for the great deliverance. 
Between the upper angels a space is left for the inscription. 
See p. 252, Vol. I. 

8 1. 1806. From Blair's ' Grave.' * Prone on the lonely grave she 


82. 1806. ' By the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept.' 

83. 1806. Satan watching the Endearments of Adam and Eve. 


Essentially the same as No. 89^, but with differences of 
. detail ; the figure of Satan, for instance, being turned towards 

the left, instead of the right ; the flesh here is almost colourless, 
and the feeling on the whole more softly sensuous. The ser- 
pent, with a comb of fire, 'in his own volumes intervolved/ 
shuffles away from the feet of the First Parents. Very beauti- 
fully drawn, rich in form, and charming in impression. 


84. 1806. The Last Judgment. 

A very elaborate treatment of the subject, exceedingly fine. 
It used to belong to Sir W. Stirling- Maxwell. 

85. 1807. Twelve Designs from 'Paradise Lost/ 

This fine series belongs to Mr. Aspland, of Liverpool. It is 
of smaller size than the similar series described under No. 89, 
but the number of subjects is larger twelve instead of nine. 
Those subjects which correspond in the two series are essentially 
alike in design, yet with numerous and interesting variations of 
detail. Mr. Aspland' s set does not include subject e, Satan, as 
a toad, haunting the dreams of Eve, but comprises the following 
four extra subjects : 

(a) Satan calling up his Legions. Book I. 

(b} Satan at the Gate of Hell, guarded by Sin and Death. 
Book II. 

(<:) Satan's Entry into Paradise God sends Raphael to warn 
Adam. Book V. 

(d} The Condemnation of Adam and Eve. Book X. 

86. 1807. The Vision of Queen Katharine Shakespeare's ' Henry 

VIII.' [Butts.] Slight tint of water-colour. 

Treated quite from the ideal, not the historic or dramatic point 
of view; and a leading example of Blake's accurate manner. 
Katharine, crowned and young-looking, with light hair, ' makes 
in her sleep signs of rejoicing, and holdeth up her hands to 
heaven,' or to the Angels, of whom a considerable number are 
floating about in all parts of the composition, with wreaths, harps, 
&c. Their small size gives them rather a fairy-like than a 
strictly angelic character. The attendants, Griffith and Patience, 
both dozing, are an ancient bearded man with a book, and a 
youthful woman. See the following number, for which this 
appears to be a preparation. It was exhibited in Manchester in 

87. 1807. The same. 

This is the work painted for Sir Thomas Lawrence (see p. 
401, Vol. I.), and is very elaborately executed, with a great glory 
of light shooting through ragged drifts of darkness. The purity 
of colour is somewhat affected by the strong effort to get relief 
and play of light. Katharine is finer here than in the preceding. 

88. 1807. The same. 

In the Shakespeare volume. See No. 77. 

89. 1807-8. The Last Judgment. Tempera. See pp. 260-2, &c. 

Vol. I. 

A small picture highly finished in drawing, but slight in 
colour, the white predominating save on the side of the con- 
demned. Some of the figures of the blessed are of extreme 
loveliness, and the grouping is admirable. 


90. 1808. *NINE DESIGNS from 'Paradise Lost.' [Butts.] 

This is a marvellously fine series : Blake is here king of all 
his powers of design, draughtsmanship, conception, spiritual 
meaning and impression. The colour is throughout good, often 
splendid ; the execution accurate and sustained ; the style of 
form grand, sweeping, and tense. This series (belonging to Mr. 
J. C. Strange) would of itself suffice to rank Blake among the 
heroes of the art. 

(a) *The Casting of the Rebel Angels into Hell. Book VI. 

A great example of energetic design ; the devils hurled down 
with huge velocity, and a Michelangelo-like power of action. 
The Son of God, in a disc of pale crimson flame, draws His bow 
against them, the shaft of the arrow being imagined, not repre- 
sented. The central demon is Satan ; next him falls one with a 
mapped-out forehead, the representative of apostate intellect, 
presumably Beelzebub ; the flames of hell reach already above 
them. The angels around Christ are not equal to the rest of the 

(b) *The Creation of Eve. Book VIII. 

Very spiritual and sculpturesque, without much colour. Adam 
lies at full length on a natural carpet of leaves, a sort of invented 
foliaceous form, the like of which, modified according to the 
purpose, appears in other designs. At the bidding of the Son of 
God, as Creator, Eve floats up from Adam's side ; the crescent 
moon above her in a deep, dusky sky. The evening flowers are 
shut ; the trees seem bound in slumber. 

(c) * l Father, Thy word is passed, Man shall find grace.' 
Book III. 

The Son stands as intercessor before God the Father ; four 
youthful angels hover with downward sway, bearing crowns. 
The whole of the celestial group is rather in grisaille tjian in 
colour. Satan, armed with shield and spear, floats below, sub- 
jugated, but unextinguished in rebellion. 

(d) *Satan watching the Endearments of Adam and Eve. 
Book IV. 

Very grand in the lines of the seated figures of Adam and Eve. 
Satan, above the floral bower which over-arches them, holds the 
serpent an amazingly subtle, prismatic-hued serpent which 
seems in horrid council with him, draining his vitals. Satan has 
a languid, almost ' sentimental ' air, yet very terrible. The sun 
sets to the right, while the stars and moon are in the opposite 
space of nightly sky. See No. 83. 

(<?) *Satan, as a Toad, haunting the Dreams of Eve. Book IV. 

The natural couch upon which Adam and Eve lie (see b above) 

is curious ; a mass of rounded forms, simulating shut roses, but 

unfortunately solid-looking, like peaches. Two angels float 

above, with small javelins. 

(/) ^Raphael and Adam in conversation, Eve ministering to 
them. Book V. 

A most beautiful Eve (as frequently the case with Blake), 
exactly realizing the high ideal ' naked and not ashamed.' 


Raphael, with a grand action of the upraised arms, and his 
dispread wings meeting at the tips in a noble ogee curve, is 
narrating the great creative acts, or possibly cautioning Adam 
against his impending danger ; he listens in awe. The natural 
chairs, table, and cups, formed by the vegetation, are ingeniously 
managed. In the distance is an extensive landscape, with 
numerous animals ; the Tree of Life at the summit, with fruit 
glowing like illumination-lamps, or the jewel-fruit of Aladdin ; 
, the serpent is coiled up its trunk, lying fearfully in wait. 

(g) *Eve eating the forbidden Fruit. Book IX. 

Wonderful exceedingly. Eve, again most beautiful, eats out 
of the jaws of the serpent the fruit which he presents to her. 
Cther fruits hang from the branches, glowing (as in the preced- 
ing design) wjth ruddy luminousness. The trunk of the tree is 
cramped with huge parasitic thorn-stems, which reach down 
along the ground, as it were the roots of the tree itself. Ghastly 
forked lightning plays round Eve, lurid and menacing. At the 
. other (left) side of the tree stands Adam, as in a distinct plane 
of the composition. He is yet guiltless and unconscious of the 
evil ; round him too play the forked lightnings, chain-like, but 
less angry in colour. The storm-sky blackens as the doom 

(/*) *Michael foretelling the Crucifixion to Adam : 
* But to the cross He nails thy enemies, 
The law that is against thee and the sins 
Of all mankind, with Him there crucified.' Book XII. 

Christ on the cross is visibly brought before Adam, who stands 
adoring very fine in form. At the foot of the cross lie two 
human figures, one of which is possibly * the Law,' and some 
bestial heads symbolising ' the Sins/ or Vices it may be pre- 
sumed. The Serpent is twined there also, his -crest set beneath 
the foot of Christ. At the bottom of the composition Eve is 
sleeping ; a beautiful, grand, rich form. The Archangel, in this 
and the succeeding design, is unfortunately a failure ; a kind of 
over-handsome classic warrior. Blake has tried hard to hit the 
mark, but somehow the inspiration would not come. 

(/) *Adam and Eve taken by Michael out of Eden. Book XII. 
Adam's first step out of Eden stumbles upon a thorn ad- 
mirably thought of: a thistle is beside it. Both he and Eve 
look with scared revulsion upon the serpent, wondrously 
treacherous, crawling and accursed, yet with malice gratified. 
Above this group are seen four red-bearded angels, represented 
as of the middle age of man, upon blood-red horses, and with 
flames ; while a huge wreath of crimson fire, like a funereal pall, 
wind-shaken, flaps over the head of Michael. 

91. 1808. Jacob's Ladder. [Butts.] See pp. 264, Vol. I., and 

161, Vol. II. 

92. 1808. The Angels hovering over the Body of Jesus in the 

Sepulchre. See pp. 264, Vol. I., and 161, Vol. II. 

93. 1808. *The Canterbury Pilgrimage, from Chaucer ' Sir 

Jeffrey Chaucer and the nine-and-twenty Pilgrims on their 


Journey to Canterbury.' [Butts.] Tempera. See pp. 273 
-82, Vol. I., and 142151, Vol. II. 

Sent to the International Exhibition, 1862. The colour of 

this fine work appears to have darkened, making the general 

impression of the scene a rather sombre one. 

94. 1809 or earlier. *The Spiritual Form of Nelson guiding 

Leviathan, in whose wreathings are enfolded the Nations 
of the Earth. Tempera. See p. 139, Vol. II. 

The date given is conjectural; 1809 is the latest possible, 
that being the date of the ' Descriptive Catalogue/ 

95. 1809 or earlier. *The Spiritual Form of Pitt guiding Behe- 

moth. Tempera. See p. 140, Vol. II. 

96. 1809 or earlier. *The Ancient Britons The Three who 

escaped from King Arthur's last Battle. Tempera. See pp. 
276-7, Vol. L, and 153-7, Vol. II. 

97. 1809 or earlier. The Goats (browsing the vine -leaves wherein 

some savage girls had dressed themselves). Tempera (?). See 
p. 158, No. 7, Vol. II. 

98. 1809 or earlier. The Spiritual Preceptor, from Svvedenborg. 

Tempera (?). See p. 138, No. 8, Vol. II., 

99. 1809 or earlier. Ruth parting from Naomi. Colour-printed. 

Seep. 162, Vol. II. 

I conjecture this to be the Ruth named in the ' Descriptive 
Catalogue/ though Blake there terms it a drawing. This design 
is inscribed by him ' Fresco/ but appears to have on it some 
colour-printing, and to be chiefly executed in water-colour with 
a good deal of body-colour. It differs from No. 50 in the more 
downward action of the arms and hands of both Naomi and 
Ruth, the latter with her head bowed as low as her mother-in- 
law's bosom. Orpah bends in going away, with a hurried step 
as though a little ashamed of her departure, and anxious to be 
out of sight a fine touch of nature. The background is a dark- 
green mountain-land : the colour a little heavy, and the design as 
a whole hardly so beautiful as No. 50, fine though it is. 

100. 1809 or earlier. The Bard, from Gray. Tempera. See 

Blake's 'Descriptive Catalogue/ p. 152-3. 

A gorgeous piece of colour-tone, with gold amid the pigments. 
The water-colour No. 6, an earlier work, may or may not have 
been similar to this in composition. 

101. 1809 or earlier. The Brahmins Mr. Wilkin translating the 


See p. 161, Vol. II., where this and the three following are 
stated to be ' drawings : ' it seems clear that ' water-colour 
drawings ' is meant. 

102. 1809 or earlier. The body of Abel found by Adam and Eve ; 

Cain, who was about to bury it, fleeing from the face of his 
Parents. [Butts.] See p. 161, Vol. II. 

Full of grand horror and vigorous action. Adam and Eve 
wail over their slaughtered son. 


103. 1809. Richard III. and the Ghosts. Neutral tints. 

In the same Shakespeare volume as No. 77. The candles 
shine through the spectral form of Henry VI. 

104. 1809. The Babylonian Woman on the Seven-headed Beast. 

[British Museum.] 

Her face is of a heavy type (something like that of the Kemble 
family), her head crowned with a mural diadem. The flesh of 
the Beast is red, with a smoky tinge ; his heads and figure 
human, though of a Calibanic cast. The woman holds in her 
right hand a golden serpent-handled cup, whence flows forth a 
wreath of figures, also bearing cups and trumpets. They swoop 
down towards small foreground figures of knights fighting. At 
them points the woman's left hand, as if to claim them as her 
own ; men drunk with her cup of ambition, animosity, and the 
pride of life. Complete in execution and colour, though the 
latter partakes rather of the character of ' tinting.' A valuable 
example of Blake, yet with a less daringly original aspect than 
might have been expected in such a subject. See p. 291, Vol. I. 

105. 1809. Six Illustrations to Milton's 'Hymn for the Nativity.' 

(a) The Annunciation to the Shepherds. 

(b) The Nativity. 

(c) The Overthrow of Paganism. 
(<f) Moloch. 

(e) * Typhon huge ending in snaky twine,' &c. 
(/) The Slumber. 

io6.1809. Portrait of Mrs. Butts. [Butts.] Miniature. 

The creamy flesh, and the general knack of execution, assimi- 
late closely enough to the style of most miniature-painters. 

107. Circa 1810. Portrait of Mr. Butts, Jun. [Butts.] Miniature. 

The son of the Mr. Butts with whom Blake was chiefly con- 
nected. There is an elegant quality in the miniature, which 
conforms fairly to the requirements of portraiture. Some touches 
of gilt appear in the hair. 

1 08. 1811. *The Judgment of Paris. [Butts.] Colour-printed. 

Discord, triple-headed, is flying off ; Mercury floating on the 
air ; Cupid exults as he handles his arrows ; Paris, languidly 
seated, seems almost to shrink from the decision which he is in 
the act of making. His crouched dog has Tlapis inscribed on its 
collar. The three goddesses, as well as the other figures, are 
splendid in form; and the whole design belongs to the highest 
order of Blake's work, both in spirit and in treatment. 

109. Circa 1820. The Ghost of a Flea. Tempera. 

A small picture, much wrought up. The flea, full-length, is a 
scaled semi-human figure, striding energetically, and holding a 
goblet of blood. The head is less unhuman, and less strikingly 
invented, than that engraved in Vol. I. p. 303. See List 2, 
Nos. 65, 82. 


no. Circa 1820 to 1827. *The Last Judgment. Tempera. See pp. 
260, 401, Vol. I. 

Seven feet by five feet in dimensions, and estimated to contain 
1,000 figures. A later work than the one belonging to Lord 
Leconfield, No. 89. 

111. 1822.*The Creation of Eve. [Linnell.] See No. 90 b. 

This design, and the two following, are duplicates, but with 
some difference in tone of colour, &c. of the three in Mr. 
Strange's noble series from ' Paradise Lost,' No. 90, on the whole 
carried a trifle less far. 

112. 1822. *Satan watching the Endearments of Adam and Eve. 

[Linnell.] See No. 90 d. 

113. 1822. ^Michael fore telling the Crucifixion to Adam. [Linnell.] 

See No. 90 h. 

Great in effect of darting light and darkness, 

114. 1822. *The Wise and Foolish Virgins. [Linnell.] 

Very noble : the composition admirable, both in an artistic 
sense and in expression of the subject the effect dark and 
night-like. The Wise Virgins are in a serried, upright group, 
departing to the left ; the Foolish Virgins distracted and scattered, 
some upon their knees. Above them an angel, floating in the 
sky in a horizontal position, blows his trumpet for the coming of 
the Bridegroom. 

115. 1822. The same. 

A smaller version of the same composition, executed for Sir 
Thomas Lawrence. See page 401, Vol. I. 

1 1 6. 1822. The Rich Man in Purgatory. 

Also done for Sir T. Lawrence. 'Purgatory' appears to be 
an euphuism for 'Hell,' and the subject that of 'Dives and 

117. Circa 1822. A COMPLETE SET of Water-colour Designs for the 

Job Engravings. [Butts.] See pp. 325-6, Vol. I. 

These are much larger than the engravings, and give only the 
central subjects, without the borderings or mottoes. They are 
generally pale in colour, with a less full and concentrated effect 
than the engravings, and by no means equal to them in power 
and splendid decorative treatment of the light and shade. On 
the other hand, they are often completer and naturally freer in 
expression, and do not exhibit a certain tendency, noticeable 
generally in the engravings, to over-sturdiness of build and phy- 
siognomy in the figures. (See also the photointaglios.) As 
distinguished from the engravings, the following are the most 
noticeable of the water-colours : 

(a) ' Thus did Job continually.' 

On the sun is written : ' Our Father which art in heaven, 
hallowed be Thy name : Thy will be.' 

(b) The Destruction of Job's Sons and Daughters. 

The figure of Satan much finer in the water-colour ; and the 


whole composition of the victims, with their upraised arms, 
appealing and struggling, more impressive. 

(c) l Then went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord.' 

Exhibits some considerable difference from the engraving in 
the arrangement, though not in the general conception, of the 
heavenly group. 

(d) The Arrival of Job's Friends. 

As a general rule, the friends are less individualized the one 
from the other in the water-colours. Here the traces of the sun- 
rays are less distinct : the hills are finely tinged in purple and 
green. Job's wife has the aspect of old age ; an aspect less 
discernible in several others of the' designs and engravings, 
especially in those where she is free from sorrow. 

(e) ' The just upright man is laughed to scorn.' 

Very fine, and one of the fullest in colour. 

(/) Job's terrific Dream. 

The serpent is gorgeous in prismatic tints continually a 
strong point with Blake. 

(g) * When the morning stars sang together.' 

The angelic group at the summit consists of only four figures, 
fully brought into the composition. In the engraving, the effect 
of sublimity and multitude is centupled by adding the upreared 
arms of two other angels to right and left, passing out of the. 
composition. This appears to have been an after-thought during 
the progress of the engraving itself, as two thin wreaths of cloud, 
which close-in and ' finish off' the group in the design, appear 
also in the engraving. 

(ft) Leviathan and Behemoth. 

Splendidly tinted, and, on the whole, quite as fine in the 
design as in the engraving. Behemoth is longer-muzzled in the 

(/) ' I have heard Thee with the hearing of the ear, but now 
mine eye seeth Thee.' 

In the drawing, the friends do not turn their faces away from 
the presence of God, but towards Him, though kept buried in 
their hands. There is a fine aspect of portent in the sky and 
background to the right. 

(/) Job's Sacrifice for his Friends. 

Job here stands full-fronting the spectator : the friends are 
more upright than in the engraving. 

(k) t Every one also gave him a piece of money.' 

The neighbours are three only, instead of four, and the design 
otherwise somewhat different from the engraving : the latter 
having the advantage. 

(/) Job and his Three Daughters. 

Very bad in the handling of the colour, which is evidently 
Mrs. Blake's. Differs considerably from the engraving. The 


history narrated by Job, as shown forth by way of vision, comes 
overhead, instead of in rounded side compartments. The group 
of Job and his Daughters is surrounded by grazing sheep, with 
a lamb and a sheep-dog lying in the foreground to right and left. 

(m) The final Prosperity of Job. 

On the sun is written : ' Great and marvellous are Thy works, 
Lord God Almighty ; just and true.' 

1 1 8. 1823-5. A SECOND COMPLETE SET of Water-colour Designs for 
the Job Engravings. [Linnell.] 

See pp. 328-9, Vol. I., and, under the preceding No., the obser- 
vations on the set which now belongs to Lord Hougnton. The 
two sets correspond closely enough, Mr. Linnell's being some- 
what higher in colour, and more developed in style generally. 
The following are noticeable : 
(a) Satan before the Lord. 

Highly coloured ; the flame about Satan is especially vivid in 

() ' Then went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord.' 
The guardian angels are represented as overclouded. 

(<:) Satan pouring Disease on Job. 
Powerful in lurid colour. 

(d) Job's terrific Dream. 

The serpent (contrary to ii//) is dull grey. The lower part 
of the design has a powerful effect. 

(e) God appearing to Job in the Whirlwind. 

Dark grey tone of colour. 
(/) * When the morning stars sang together.' 

See 117 g, with which this design corresponds in the point 
there adverted to. 

(g) Leviathan and Behemoth. 

Deeper in colour than 117 h. 
(h} l Thou hast fulfilled the judgment of the wicked/ 

Strong in colour. 

(/) ' I have heard Thee with the hearing of the ear, but now 
mine eye seeth Thee.' 

Corresponds with 117 2, in the position of the friends. The 
expression of Job is exceedingly noble. 

(j) Job's Sacrifice for his Friends. 

Corresponds with the engraving, rather than with 1177'. The 
engraving, however, introduces an additional point of advantage 
by making the composition upright, instead of lengthways. 

(k) ' Every one also gave him a piece of money.' 

Also closer to the engraving than 117 k. Pale in colour. 
(/) Job and his three Daughters. 

Comes very near the engraving in the details. It so far cor- 
responds, however, with 1 17 /, that three sheep and a sheep-dog 
are introduced in the foreground. Almost colourless. 


119. 1825 (?). The same subject. [Butts.] Tempera. 

Also a near approach to the engraving ; the visionary incidents 
being here much as in that, though somewhat higher up in the 

120. 1825 (?). Job surrounded by his Family ; and Job and his three 


Two water-colour sketches, now framed together. 

121. 1825. The Virgin and Child. Tempera. 

122. 1825. TWELVE DESIGNS to 'Paradise Regained/ [Linnell.] 

Small water-colours neatly executed, the finishing carried to 
the point of stippling. See Vol. I. p. 378. Spite of its merits, 
the series has a remarkable affinity to the character of the poem, 
which is more distinguished by stately and elaborated method 
than by inspiration. 

(a) Christ and the Baptist, with two Angels. 

(b) The Baptism of Christ. 

The figures of a woman and child are very pleasing. 

(c) Satan in Council. 

The devils are seated in yellow fire. 

(d) The First Temptation ' Command that these stones be 
made bread.' 

Fine. The mass of trees behind the figures is effective. 

(e) Mary at her Distaff, watched by two Angels. 

(/) Christ refusing the Banquet offered by Satan. 

Satan, in the form of an old man, swoops in the air above. 
The chief female figure has a seductive aspect, well conceived. 

(g) The Second Temptation Satan displaying the Kingdoms 
of the Earth. 

The kingdoms are seen within a flaming glory. Satan has a 
black nimbus, of barred form. 

(h) Christ's Troubled Dream. 

Serpents, a lion, &c., haunt the sleeper. Able. 
(/") Morning chasing away the Phantoms. 

The morning is a woman with rosy hair and azure nimbus. 
The finest design of the series. 

(j) The Third Temptation Christ on a Pinnacle of the 

The Temple is of a Gothic type, with many pinnacles. Satan, 
finally baffled, falls downward. 

(k) Christ ministered to by Angels. 

(/) Christ returning to Mary. 

Two other figures appear to represent Joseph and the Baptist. 


123. 1825-6. *NINETY-EIGHT DESIGNS from Dante's ' Divina Corn- 
media.' [Linnell.] Water-colour s, often decidedly unfinished, 
seldom quite complete : occasionally pencil drawings only, which 
are retained in this List, rather than the second, for convenience. 
See p. 375, Vol. I. 

These are among the last works executed by Blake, and form 
on the whole, a very fine series, though not uniformly equal in 
merit : seven only, all from the Hell, have been engraved. So 
individual an artist as Blake could not fail frequently to run 
counter to other people's conceptions of the poet : but he cer- 
tainly united in a singular degree the qualifications needed to 
translate Dante into form. Among the points necessary to be 
preserved, perhaps the one least fully expressed is the peculiar 
mediaevalism of Dante, though Blake was by no means destitute 
of the feeling at times. Dante is represented, throughout, as a 
noble-looking, ideal young man, often almost feminine in person, 
clad in red. Virgil, not older than of early middle age, is in blue. 
(Besides the ninety-eight designs here enumerated, a slight in- 
scribed diagram of the Hell-circles, and two other mere sketches, 
one of them of uncertain subject, may be considered as outlying 
members of the series.) 

THE HELL. Sixty-eight Designs. 

(a) Dante running from the Three Beasts. Canto I. 

Virgil comes floating through the air. The beasts are all 
sorts of colours ; the leopard, for instance, being varied with 
lake and blue, and without spots. There is a wonderful effect 
of light beaming prismatic round the sun. 

(b) Dante and Virgil penetrating the Forest. Canto I. Very 

Fine in feeling. 

(c) The Mission of Virgil. Canto II. Unfinished. 

Beatrice contemplates Dante, beset by the beasts. At the 
summit is a large group of the Deity in wrath, and a super- 
natural being, presumably the Genius of Florence. Two side- 
figures below, seated amid flames, here blue, there red, are very 
fearful-looking. There are several other details carrying out the 
meaning of the whole subject. 

(d) The Inscription over Hell-Gate. Canto III. Unfinished. 

Grand. 'Terrible, conical, upright flames, blue, red, and many- 
tinted, burn amid the mounded circles of Hell. 

(e) The Vestibule of Hell, and the Souls mustering to cross the 
Acheron. Canto III. 

The souls unworthy of either heaven or hell are tormented by 
the hornets and worms : above, in the dusky air, are their com- 
panion-angels, equally excluded. The heavy, murky Acheron is 
noble, and the whole design very fine upon examination. 

(/) Charon and the Condemned Souls. Canto III. Little 
beyond pencil. 

Charon is very grotesque almost ludicrous. 

Q 2 


() Minos. Canto IV. 

Contains some wonderfully energetic and inventive actions. 
Terrible retributive angel-heads glance out from behind Minos. 

(k] Homer, bearing the sword, and his Companions. Canto 

IV. Pencil slight. 

(i) The Antique Poets and Philosophers, &c. Canto JV. Half 

Quite a different composition from the preceding. The poets 
are under ideal trees, the leafage of which has a certain sugges- 
tion of the laurel or bay. 

(f) The Circle of the Lustful Francesca da Rimini. 
Canto V. 

Engraved in close correspondence with the design, but this is 
considerably the finer ; very wonderful in the sweep of the 
vortex and in colour ; the flesh of the sufferers crimson -streaked. 
Virgil's head is fused into the light of the visionary disc repre- 
senting the kiss of Francesca and Paolo. 

(k) The Circle of the Gluttons, with Cerberus. Canto VI. A 
mere preparation for colouring. 

(!) Cerberus. Canto VI. Unfinished. 

His doggish heads have a dragon-like character. He grips, 
in human hands, the souls, which are pigmies in comparison. 

(m) The same. Unfinished. 

The finer of the two. Dante and Virgil here are made more 

(n) Plutus. Canto VII. Colour only begun. 

He has an insane look, corresponding to Dante's conception : 
his right hand is upon a bag marked 'money/ Fine. 

(o) The Stygian Lake, with the Ireful Sinners fighting. Canto 

VII. Unfinished. 

Most admirably invented. The sinners, in two bands, hurl 
themselves one against the other, through the waters. 

(p} Virgil repelling Filippo Argenti from the Boat. Canto 

VIII. Unfinished. 

(q) Dante and Virgil crossing towards the City of Dis. Canto 
VIII. Indian Ink. 

The scene is everything here, not the figures. Interesting. 
(r) The Angel crossing Styx. Canto IX. Only begun. 

Would have come very fine. The whirls of the vortex, which 
accompanies the angel, coil like a gigantic serpent. 

(s) The Gorgon-head, and the Angel opening the Gate of Dis. 
Canto IX, Only begun in colour. 

The gate, with the angel touching it, forms the chief subject. 
(/) Farinata degli Uberti. Canto X. Only begun. 

A very fine beginning. 


(//) The Minotaur. Canto XII. Only begun in colour. 

The monster is ramping and roaring. Grand and monu- 

(v) The Centaurs, and the River of Blood. Canto XII. Pencil, 

outline, with only an indication of colour, 
(w) The Harpies and the Suicides. Canto XIII. 

The harpies resemble old parrot-like dowagers, with very 
bright plumage. The trees show the forms of the suicides 
embodied in them. 

(x) The Hell-hounds hunting the Destroyers of their own 
Goods. Canto XIII. Only begun in colour. 

Most admirable in motion. The landscape counts for much 
in this composition. 

(y) The Blasphemers. Canto XIV. Only begun in colour. 

The .chief group is excellent, running to avoid the rain of fire. 
A woman is a principal figure in it. 
(z) Capaneus the Blasphemer. Canto XIV. 

Not so violent in action as might have been expected. A 
strange medley of colour. 

(a 1 ) The Symbolic Figure of the course of Human History 
described by Virgil. Canto XIV. Half executed. 

The 'great old man/ as Virgil terms him, is beardless. 
Moderately good. 

(b l ) Jacopo Rusticucci and his Comrades. Canto XVI. Half 
executed in colour. 

Very fine in character of the subject and in motion. 
(c l ) The Usurers. Canto XVII. Pencil-sketch. 

One of them is in the act of low sarcasm described by Dante 
putting out his tongue * like an ox that licks his nose.' 

(d l ) Geryon conveying Dante and Virgil downwards. Canto 

XVII. Only begun in colour. 
(2) The Seducers chased by Devils. Canto XVIII. Only 

begun in colour. 

Admirable. In front lies a mummy-like figure, preyed upon 
by a Saurian. No such incident is traceable in the poem : 
perhaps it represents, in this first Circle of the Fraudulent 
Sinners, ' Fraud, whereby every conscience is bitten,' as Virgil 
phrases it in Canto XI. 

(/') The Flatterers. Canto XVIII. Only begun in colour. 

There are two wonderful floating figures above, whom it is 
difficult to account for. 

(g- 1 ) The Simoniac Pope. Canto XIX. The lower part un- 
finished in colour. 

The figures of Dante and Virgil, locked together, at the 
moment of launching downwards to gaze upon the tormented 
soul, are most admirable, and among the most difficult achieve- 
ments in the series. The colour, except in the unfinished part, 
is highly powerful in horrid brightness. 


(h l ) The Necromancers and Augurs. Canto XX. Very un- 

A fine beginning. 

(i l ) The Devil carrying the Lucchese Magistrate to the Boiling 
Pitch-pool of Corrupt Officials. Canto XXI. A sketch, 
almost colourless. 

(j 1 ) The Devils under the Bridge. Canto XXI. Only begun 
in colour. 

Chiefly landscape : the bridge has some indications of mon- 
strous human features. The devils form a fine agile group. 

(k*) Virgil abashing the Devils. Canto XXI. Only begun in 

(7 1 ) The Devils setting out with Dante and Virgil. Canto XXI. 

Only begun in colour. 

(m 1 ) The Devils, with Dante and Virgil, by the side of the 
Pool. Canto XXII. Only begun in colour. 

Two of the bridge-like arcs of the hell-circles are seen inter- 

(n 1 ) Ciampolo tormented by the Devils. Canto XXII. Slight 

Nearly as in the engraving. Excellent. 

(o 1 ) The baffled Devils fighting. Canto XXII. 

Same design as in the engraving, which it surpasses in 

(p 1 } Dante and Virgil escaping from the Devils. Canto 
XXIII. Only begun in colour. 

There are wonderful spirit and impulse in the action of the 
devils as they fly to the last limit of their circle, which they are 
doomed never to overpass. 

(y 1 ) The Hypocrites with Caiaphas. Canto XXIII. Only begun 
in colour. 

Here again there is a great flying group of devils. Would 
have come excellent, if completed. 

(r 1 ) The laborious Passage along the Rocks. Canto XXIV. 
Very slight. 

Chiefly landscape. 
(j 1 ) The same. Very slight. 

A different design : also chiefly landscape. 

(t l ) The Thieves and Serpents. Canto XXIV. Only begun in 

One of the sinners is a woman. An excellent design, with a 
conflagration of flame in the background. 

(7* 1 ) The Serpent attacking Vanni Fucci. Canto XXIV. Only 
begun in colour. 

Fucci is in a stooping posture : the serpent bites him in the 
neck, as in the poem. 


(v l ) Fucci ' making the figs ' against God. Canto XXV. 

* Making the figs ' is a grossly insulting gesture, done by 
inserting the thumb between the fore and middle fingers. An 
admirable design, altogether, though in the figure of Fucci 
more might have been expected. Serpents wriggle in earth 
and air. 

(a/ 1 ) Cacus. Canto XXV. Almost colourless. 

The figure of Cacus, with the serpents about him, constitutes 
the whole subject. 

(x 1 ) The six-footed Serpent attacking Agnolo Brunelleschi. 
Canto XXV. Colour washy y but tolerably complete. 
The fourth of the engraved set. Admirably horrid. 

(jy 1 ) Brunelleschi half transformed by the Serpent. Canto 

XXV. Colour only begun. 

The miserable Brunelleschi is a very hideous and debased 

(0 1 ) The Serpent attacking Buoso Donati. Canto XXV. 

The fifth of the engraved set, to which it closely corresponds ; 
the serpent, however, has no feet in the water-colour. Donati 
is already turning green at the approach of the transforming 
influence. Grand. 

(a z ) Donati transformed into a Serpent, Guercio Cavalcanti 
re-transformed from a Serpent to a Man. Canto XXV. 
Colour only begun. 

There is a dreadful quietness in this design, very impressive. 

( 2 ) Ulysses and Diomed swathed in the same flame. Canto 

XXVI. Colour only begun. 

The beginning of one of Blake's tremendous effects of fire, 
but merely a beginning. 

(<r 2 ) The Schismatics and Sowers of Discord. Canto XXVIII. 
An admirable and copious design. The figure of Mahomet 
retains some symptom of the traditional likeness of the 

(d*) The same. Mosca de' Lamberti and Bertram de Born. 
Canto XXVIII. 

Splendid in colour. There is a bold curve of hill here, with 
conical flames before and behind it. 

(e z ) The Pit of Disease The Falsifiers. Canto XXIX. Colour 
only begun. 

Engraved. Fine in the composition of the materials, and in 
the colour, as far as it goes. 

(/ 2 ) Same Pit. Gianni Schicchi and Myrrha. Canto XXX. 
Slight colour. 

Schicchi and Myrrha have bestial, not human, heads : a point 
of Blake's own invention, though probably suggested by a simile 
introduced by Dante into this passage. Another sinner is tum- 
bling down alongside the bridge perhaps a soul newly arrived 
to its doom, which is a vivid and important point of invention. 


(- 2 ) The Primaeval Giants sunk in the Soil. Canto XXXI. 
Slight colour. 

Grand in scale. 
(/i 2 ) Nimrod. Canto XXXI. Almost colourless. 

Would have come very fine, if completed. An indication of 
the unfinished tower of Babel is given behind Nimrod. 
(*2) Ephialtes and two other Titans. Canto XXXI. Almost 

The beginning of a very characteristic Blakeism. 
(/) Antaeus setting down Dante and Virgil. Canto XXXI. 

This is about the highest in finish of the whole series. The 
scene is full of blue tones, with ragged skirts of supernatural 
fire. Antaeus is black, blue, and raw in the flesh-tints, and his 
pose extremely daring, as he sets down Dante and Virgil, and 
turns upwards again, in a single momentary action. Very fine. 

( 2 ) The Circle of the Traitors. The Alberti Brothers. Canto 
XXXII. Almost colourless. 

Their hair is iced together, as in the poem. Very ghastly, 
and would have come one of the most excellent of the series. 

(/ 2 ) Same Circle. Dante striking against Bocca degli Abati. 
Canto XXXII. Almost colourless. 

Engraved and copied on p. 377, Vol. I. 

(m 2 ) Dante tugging at Bocca' s Hair. Canto XXXII. Almost 

Ugolino is seen gnawing at the head of Archbishop Ruggieri. 

(7z 2 ) Ugolino relating his Death. Canto XXXIII. Almost 

Ugolino is an ancient man, much of the Job type. Ruggieri 
has his cardinal's hat lying beside him. 

(<? 2 ) Ugolino in Prison. Canto XXXIII. Slight pencil-sketch, 

Much the same as the design engraved in the f Gates of 
Paradise.' Two angels are here introduced above. 

(/ 2 ) Lucifer. Canto XXXIV. Very slight colour. 

Has indications of much curious detail. 
124. THE PURGATORY. Twenty Designs. [Linnell.] 

(a) Dante and Virgil re-beholding the Sun as they issue from 
Hell. Canto I, Very slight. 

The beginning of a fine effect of light. 

(b) Dante, Virgil, and Cato. Canto I. Pencil-sketch, with 
hardly any colour. 

(c) The Angelic Boat wafting over the Souls for Purgation. 
Canto II. Pencil-sketch, with hardly any colour. 

(d) The Mountain leading to Purgatory. Canto IV. Only 

A landscape subject. 


(e) The Ascent of the Mountain. Canto IV. Slight colour, 

A grand sea, with the sun obscured by cloud. This would 
have come a splendid design. 

(/) The Souls of those who only repented at the point of 
death. Cantos V. and VI. Slight colour. 

The souls float about in all directions. 
(g) The Lawn with the Kings and Angels. Cantos VII. and 

VIII. Slight colour. 

(Ji) Lucia carrying Dante in his sleep. Canto IX. 

Beautiful in character of moonlight, and fine in sentiment. 

(/) Dante and Virgil approaching the Angel who guards the 
Entrance of Purgatory. Canto IX. Slight. 

The angel is within a door having a pointed arch. Huge 
blood-red clouds traverse the sun, which is shining upon the 
sea. The beginning of a very strong, but as yet harsh, effect 
of colour. 

(/) The^Angel marking Dante with the sevenfold P. Canto 

IX. Slight colour. 
Also harsh as yet. 

(k) The Rock sculptured with the Recovery of the Ark and 
the Annunciation. Canto X. Colour only begun. 

There is a tremendous black sea in the distance. 
(/) The Proud under their enormous Loads. Canto X. Colour 
only begun, and design unfinished. 

The sea here seems to be undgr a moonlight effect. 
(m) The Angel Descending at the close of the Circle of the 
Proud. Canto XII. 

The angel descends, with very energetic and beautiful lines of 
motion, towards Dante and Virgil, who stand on the sculptured 

() The Souls of the Envious. Canto XIII. Pencil- sketch, 
(o) The Angel inviting Dante to enter the Fire. Canto XXVII. 
The fire is at the top of a narrow steep rock-ledge ; the sea 
is jDlue, the sun sinking. Very grand in subject-matter and 
(p) Dante at the moment of entering the Fire. Canto XXVII. 

Very fine. 

(g) Dante and Statius sleeping, Virgil watching. Canto XXVII. 
Slight, rather neutral colour. 

One of the finest of the series ; the curves of the composition 
very lovely, the decoratively-invented vegetation curious, the sea 
black and rippled. Dante's vision of Rachel and Leah is seen 
in the full moon. 

(r} Beatrice on the Car, Dante, and Matilda. Canto XXIX. 
Colour incomplete. 

The meandering, rippling stream is extremely pretty ; the 
colour, if completed, would have been brilliant. 


(s) Beatrice addressing Dante. Cantos XXIX. and XXX. 

Beatrice is tinted with yellow and red, as much incarnate in 
herself as proper to her drapery. The griffin harnessed to the 
car is grand and monumental, and there is much fantasy in 
the gleaming of the lights and colours. 

(/) The Harlot and the Giant. Canto XXXII. Colour only 

The colour is in an unsightly preparatory stage. The design 
has a good deal of curious material. 

125. THE PARADISE. Ten Designs. [LinnelL] 

(a) Dante adoring Christ. Canto XIV. Only begun. 

Distinguished by its daring, waved pattern-lines of fire. 

(b) A design of Circular Stairs. Canto XIX. Pencil-sketch. 

Canto XIX., to which Blake has referred this design, does 
not contain anything closely corresponding with it. Perhaps it 
symbolizes the relation, as in descending grades, between the 
divine and created intelligences. 

(c) The Recording Angel. Canto XIX. Half -colour. 

Represented as an aged man winged. 

(d) Beatrice and Dante in Gemini, amid the Spheres of Flame. 
Canto XXIV. Colour only begun. 

(e) St. Peter, Beatrice, and Dante. Canto XXIV. Colour only 

St. Peter is in a tongue-like flame of fire in mjd-sky. 
(/) The same three, with St. James also. Canto XXV. Only 

A fine beginning. 

(g) The same four, with St. John the Evangelist also. 
Canto XXVI. Only begun. 

The beginning of a very striking work. The five figures, each 
segregated in a sort of disc of its own, form an irregular cinq- 
foiled composition ; John being at the apex, flanked by Peter 
and James, Dante at the base, and Beatrice inserted midway, 
towards the right. 

(h) The Deity, from whom proceed the Nine Spheres. 
Canto XXVIII. Only begun in colour. 


(/) Dante in the Empyrean, drinking at the River of Light. 
Canto XXX. Only begun. 

A number of distinct subjects, admissible according to the 
' Doctrine of Correspondences/ are given in the background. 
In one of these one finds the operations of pictorial art 

(/) The Queen of Heaven in Glory. Canto XXXI. Sketch, 
almost colourless. 

126. 1825. (?) The Circle of the Lustful. [The Hell.] 

Some figures which do not appear in the engraved subject : 
slightly washed in colour. On the back is a sketch of two 
figures, one of them floating. This belongs to Mr. Aspland. 





127. The Creation of Light. [Butts.] 

128. 'And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because 

that in it He had rested from all His work which God created 
and made.' [Butts.] 

Very characteristic and fine. The Creator appears within a 
vesica, formed by the heads and wings of angels, encircled by 
the sky, rayed with yellow and other hues. The aerial effect of 
colour throughout the group, in which blue is freely used in the 
half-tones of flesh, is excellent. 

129. *The Creation of Eve 'She shall be called Woman/ [Butts.] 

The Creator, holding a hand of Adam, who reclines under a 
vine, and a hand of Eve, upon a floating cloud, presents her to 
him. Several sheep are introduced four of them grazing close 
by a slumbering lion. 

130. Eve tempted by the Serpent. [Butts.] Oil-picture on copper. 

A small full-length picture of a very beautiful, fair woman, 
holding up her right hand to take the apple which the monster- 
serpent, coiling beside her, lifts high above her head. The moon 
and a waterfall are in the background. A very carefully-painted, 
highly-coloured picture. 

131. The Temptation. [Butts.] Tempera. 

132. The Almighty accusing Eve. 

133. The Expulsion from Eden. Tempera, on black ground. 

Fine in colour. 

134. Lot and his Daughters. [Butts.] Tempera. 

One of the daughters is a rich, fine form. 

135. Abraham and Isaac, with the Ram caught in the Thicket. 

[Butts.] Tempera. 

Fair ; full in colour : the ram very large. 

136. Joseph and Potiphar's Wife. [Butts.] 

' Joseph and Jezebel] according to the sale-catalogue ; probably 
Blake's own way of expressing it. 

137. Moses placed in the Ark of Bulrushes. [Butts.] Tempera. 

Excellently invented. The mother swoons into her husband's 
arms ; the sister is on the watch, to give warning of any in- 
terruption. The Pyramids are prominent in the landscape. 

138. 'The Compassion of Pharaoh's Daughter:' the Finding of 

Moses. [Butts.] 

An exceedingly beautiful design, fully rivalling the grace and 
tenderness of Flaxman. The princess is a most delicious figure : 


she is attended by two young girls and two lovely women. Along 
with the funny little Moses are his mother and sister. In the 
right-hand corner a pelican (not in the least like one) is feeding 
her young. Pale in colour. 

139. *Moses at the Burning Bush. [Butts.] 

High, but not good, in colour. The treatment is interesting. 
The burning bush presents a small, spiral, dark flame. Moses 
gazes upon it, much as might any spectator of a curious 
phenomenon not especially concerning himself. 

140. Moses indignant at the Golden Calf. [Butts.] Tempera. 

The figure of Moses occupies more than half the whole space ; 
other figures are given in the lower left-hand corner. A fine 

141. Moses erecting the Brazen Serpent. [Butts.] 

High in colour red, blue, and yellow especially in the 
serpents and in the sky. Great in energy and in the conception 
of the serpents, which flare up into the air, loaded with their 
burden of human agony. A serpent is twined lax around Moses, 
dying out before the saving brazen image, and its colours fading 
into slaty extinction : the brazen one is as horrent and living in 
aspect as any of the others. The only figures not tormented by 
the serpents are two maidens, one of whom is in an action of 
thanksgiving. For this figure Blake probably had in his mind 
the promise, 'It shall bruise thy head/ the head of a dead 
serpent coming just at her feet. Whiffs of flame flit across the 
sky. A wonderful piece of invention throughout. 

142. *The Stoning of Achan. 

The face of the stoned man, an athletic figure, perfectly naked, 
is turned aside and backwards. The subject might be the 
'Stoning of the Blasphemer' (Leviticus xxiv. 23), or even of 
Stephen ; but the figure seems less adapted for the latter : and 
a peculiar detail a lurid wreath of smoke above his head, 
mingled with fire would indicate the ' burning with fire ' of all 
that belonged to Achan. The wrathful bearded Jews stand over 
him on both sides, six simultaneous arms raised with their weight 
of stone. Very vigorous in design and contour, tending towards 
the style of Fuseli. 

143. The Burial of Moses: discomfiture of Satan, who 'fought for 
the body of Moses.' 

144. Job confessing his Presumption to God. [Butts.] 

An exceedingly grand design, not at all corresponding with 
any of the Job engravings. The Deity, enwreathed by a very 
vivid prismatic glory, is the only part of the subject which falls 
short. From around Him, angels whirl earthward, 'drinking the 
air of their own speed.' Job kneels in front, his head raised. 
The three friends and Elihu are all bowed arch-wise prostrate 
to the ground, Elihu especially having a very beautiful and 
awful look. 

J 45- Jephthah met by his Daughter. [Butts.] 

Companion to No. 48. Fine and impulsive, though indiffer- 
ently executed. The daughter, a lovely girl, not yet of full 


womanly stature, holds up her arms to welcome Jephthah, who 
stands dumb-foundered, his clenched fists meeting as he clutches 
his robe to rend it. Two girls of her own age, with flutes, and 
a woman with a tambourine, accompany the daughter. 

146. Samson pulling down the Temple. [Butts.] Tempera. 

Samson occupies almost the entire composition. The only 
other figure is a boy crouched in the corner, horror-struck at his 
impending fate : an excellent figure this. 

147. *Goliath cursing David. [Butts.] Water-colour^ with slight pen 


Treated with naive grotesqueness, and not a good specimen in 
point of execution, but there is great merit in the calm presence 
which David maintains as he faces the blustering giant and scans 
him over. Other armed Israelites are present : Goliath's armour- 
bearer holds his vast shield, emblazoned with a huge effigy of 

148. Saul and David. 

149. *The Ghost of Samuel appearing to Saul. [Butts.] 

Very effective in design. The Witch of Endor is wonderfully 
fine. Terrified at the success of her own incantation, she 
brandishes her gaunt arms as she sits, and her bristling hair 
bursts into sudden flame. Samuel, very massive in form, and 
without the mantle over the head, points to the earth, out of 
which he has been * disquieted.' Saul, a beardless man, not 
looking older than thirty or so, is in the style of Fuseli. The 
heads of his two attendants appear behind. 

150. Bathsheba at the Bath seen by David. [Butts.] Tempera. 

The Bathsheba and the two young girls who immediately 
attend her are lovely figures ; another attendant, a grown woman, 
is seated on the edge of the tank. David is in the right-hand 
distance, a very small figure. A beautiful treatment of the 
subject, full in colour. 

151. 'And Joab brought Absalom to the king, and the king kissed 

Absalom.' [Butts.] 

Too glaring in colour, and conventionally heroic in character ; 
yet the Absalom is a glowing image of youthful and princely 

152. The Plague stayed at the Threshing-floor of Araunah the 

Jebusite. [Butts.] Tempera, 

A gigantic ancient man represents the Plague ; the sky (as 
very generally in the tempera-pictures) has as much red as blue 
in it. Remarkably fine. 

153. David delivered out of many waters. Psalm xviii. 16. 

154. The Judgment of Solomon. [Butts.] Oil picture (?) on copper. 

Interesting. Blake surpasses almost all other painters in 
genuine expression of the subject, by representing the sword- 
bearing soldier as in no sort of hurry to execute the tentative 
command of cutting the baby in two. 


155. *The Man of God and Jeroboam. [Butts.] 

Has in it the makings of a very fine work, if carried further. 
Jeroboam's arm has just withered ; the golden calf and the 
altar with a blue-burning flame are picturesque. 

156. Susannah and the Elders. [Butts.] Tempera. 


157. Esther in the presence of Ahasuerus. [Butts.] Tempera. 

Miserably damaged, but has been a picture of very consider- 
able beauty; especially the Esther and her two attendants. 
Ahasuerus has a glory round his head and a Christ-like type of 
face ; the whole subject, probably, being treated with a symbolic 
bearing the Saviour receiving Human Nature into grace. 

158. The Angel appearing to Zacharias. [Butts.] Tempera. 

Rich in colour and accessories, such as the altar-candlestick. 
The surface is considerably decayed. 

159. The Nativity. [Butts.] Oil picture (?) on copper. 

A most singular treatment of the subject. Mary, swooning in 
the miraculous childbirth, is sustained by Joseph, while the 
Divine Infant bounds into the air. Elizabeth holds out her arms 
to receive Him ; the small Baptist, on her knees, joins his hands 
in prayer. Two oxen are at the manger ; the star of the nativity 
sheds a flood of light. Mary is the most satisfactory figure of 
the group. 

1 60. 'Simeon was not to see death before he had seen the Christ.' 


So marked. The subject is the ordinary one of Simeon pro- 
phesying over the Infant Christ ; there are several bystanders 
besides Mary, Joseph, and Anna. Washy, but tolerably complete 
in colour ; a moderate specimen. 

1 6 1. The Repose in Egypt. [Butts.] Tempera. 

The Holy Family are within a tent ; an angel at its entrance ; 
the donkey outside. Very dark by decay of the surface, and 
otherwise injured. 

162. Christ with the Doctors in the Temple. [Butts.] Oil picture (?) 

on copper. 

Has much expression of the subject ; the youthful Christ 
exalted in the centre, the doctors rapt in wonder and medi- 

163. The Baptism of Christ. [Butts.] Tempera. 

One of Blake's most beautiful landscape-backgrounds. The 
water, where Christ and the Baptist stand, scarcely bathes their 
feet, but it recedes into deep broad ripples, beyond which are a 
wooded beach, mountains, and a blue red-streaked sky. There 
are several accessory figures, bringing children to be immersed 
and so on, with a glory of angels in the heavens. 

164. The same. [Butts.] 

A water-colour high in tint, but not completed, allied to the 
preceding : a work of imperfect character, but with fine indica- 
tions. The ripple of the water is peculiarly liquid ; the Baptist 
tends too much to the manner of Westall. 


165. *The Transfiguration. [Butts.] 

The floating figure of Christ is in the centre : Moses to His 
right, with clasped hands, and not distinguished by the usual 
horns of light : Elijah to His left, with joined hands raised, and 
encircled with flames round the body ; his hair and beard ruddy. 
Behind each saint is an aged bearded Angel, winged, and suffused 
in yellow light, giving great individuality to the conception of the 
subject. The three Apostles are in the foreground ; John with 
his head buried in his hands, the other two gazing upwards. Fine. 

166. The Pool of Bethesda. [Butts.] Tempera. 

The cripple is obeying the injunction to 'take up his bed and 
walk ; ' a good figure. Low in colour, approaching to mono- 

167. The Raising of Jairus's Daughter. [Butts.] Tempera. 

The figure of Jesus is exaggerated, especially in the action of 
command of the extended left arm. Otherwise very fine in the 
expression of the figures. 

1 68. ' But Martha was cumbered about much serving.' [Butts.] 

Washy in colour, and, in the details of the table, plates, &c., 
primitive. The Martha and Mary are pleasing figures ; the 
latter in a posture of recueillement upon a couch or ottoman, 
looking outwards (not up to the Saviour), as more expressive 
of rapt meditation. Three other guests are seated at the 
opposite side of the table. 

169. *The Raising of Lazarus. [Butts.] 

Grand in emotion and point of view. Lazarus floats up at 
the word of Christ out of a grave dug in the earth. Besides 
Mary and Martha there are two men on each side of the 

170. *' Her sins are forgiven, for she loved much.' 

The Magdalen is wiping Christ's feet with her hair. Only laid- 
in in colour : ordinary, yet pleasing. 

171. * The Woman taken in Adultery. [Butts.] 

Christ bends to the ground in the act of writing : the woman 
stands with a subdued expression, very naturally given. The 
Jews are trooping out, all their backs turned. Pale in colour, 
and not of the highest style of execution. 

172. Christ Raising the Son of the Widow of Nain. [Butts.] 

The young man has almost a feminine aspect. The widow, 
following the bier, raises her arms : she can scarcely believe her 
happiness. Somewhat mannered, and without special promi- 
nence in any one figure, though the widow is well conceived. 

173. The Woman touching Christ's Garment. [Butts.] 

A composition of many figures, disfigured by lankiness. Not 
a superior specimen. 

174. Christ giving sight to the Blind Man. [Butts.] Tempera. 

The figure of Christ is fine. The blind man is young, with 
something of the character of Fuseli's treatment. 


175. Christ's Entry into Jerusalem. [Butts.] Oil picture on 


The upraised hand of Christ appears to indicate not so much 
blessing or exhortation as a compassionate estimate of the- tran- 
sient enthusiasm which His entry excites. Mary follows among 
His disciples, her head surrounded with rays : the welcomers 
are chiefly children, of the mannikin type frequent with Blake. 
The red sun is setting. The architectural distance seems to 
aim at a sort of compromise between the typical forms of the 
Egyptian pyramid and the Gothic steeple, resulting in an unfor- 
tunate approach to the Langham Church steeple. 

176. 'And when they had sung an hymn they went out into the 

mount of Olives.' Mark xiv. 26. [Butts.] 

The general treatment recalls the final thanksgiving design of 
the Job series. A fair specimen, pale in colour. 

177. Christ in the Garden, sustained by an Angel. [Butts.] Oil 

picture (?) on copper. 

Fine in feeling of the superhuman subject and the dark mourn- 
ful night. 

178. * 'Judas betrays Him.' [Butts.] 

179. 'The King of the Jews.' [Butts.] 

A curious and interesting treatment of the Crucifixion, strictly 
symmetrical. The cross occupies the centre of the composition. 
At each end of its arms is a man, of alow Jewish type, but quite 
different in the two, about to nail down the Saviour's hand ; 
while a priest is directly over His head, going to attach the 
inscription : ' I. N. R. I.' Below, at the sides of the cross, are 
two corresponding groups of bowed Apostles and women. 

1 80. The Crucifixion. [Butts.] 

Christ, the two thieves, and the mocking Jews, form the com- 
position. The Saviour, His head radiating a yellow light, beams 
down upon the penitent thief, a comely young man, at whom 
the older impenitent thief glares, as though to browbeat him 
back into callousness ; the Jews point upwards tauntingly : all 
powerfully expressed. A fine work, not carried to executive 

181. 'Christ taking leave of His Mother/ [Butts.] 

The crucified Saviour has almost a ghostly look against a 
very dark sky. Many figures are present ; all, except the Virgin 
and St. John, bowed with hidden faces. The feeling of grief is 
strongly expressed, and the composition of a high class. 

182. The Body of Christ borne to the Tomb. [Butts.] Tem- 


An interesting little picture. The body of Christ, with com- 
posed, finely chiselled features, is borne on a flat bier by four 
Apostles, the foremost being no doubt John. Nicodemus, a vener- 
able bearded man, walks midway by the bier, bearing the vase 
of spices ; the Virgin and the two Maries follow. The glimpses 
of the architecture of Jerusalem have a Gothic character (as 
introduced by Blake even into the Job series) ; the three crosses 


appear in the distance, under a blue sky streaked with yellow. 
The whole expression of the subject is serene and sustained, 
rather than mournful. 

183. The Entombment. Tempera. 

The Saviour, wrapped in a winding-sheet, is laid on the bier- 
Joseph of Arimathea, the Virgin, and other figures, are grouped 
around Him, under an oval, as if in the sepulchre, a composition 
of seventeen figures. 

184. The Same. [Butts.] 

One of the greatest and most beautiful designs left by Blake : 
funereal, awful, religious, tender. The figures ate mostly in 
mourning black. John, standing midway on the steps under the 
arched entrance of the tomb, holds a torch, and hides his weep- 
ing face in a fold of his mantle. The Virgin Mother, to his left, 
is perfect in beauty and the abysmal calm of anguish ; the 
Magdalen is on the other side. The figure of Christ is -singularly 
corpselike and pure ; Joseph of Arimathea is at His feet. The 
composition includes nine other figures. There is great harmony 
of spirit between the treatment of this subject and that of the 
Angel rolling away the Stone, No. 187. 

185. The Sealing of the Stone of Christ's Sepulchre, and setting of 

the Watch.. [Butts.] 

Highly interesting (perhaps unique ?) in the particular point of 
subject chosen, and in other respects an excellent example. A 
mason is mounted on a ladder, using the trowel and mortar. 
The head of one Pharisee is extraordinarily fine in its expression 
of alarmed and vigilant policy. Besides these two figures, there 
are two other Pharisees and five soldiers, 

1 86. The Resurrection, [Butts.] 

187. *The Angel rolling the Stone from the Sepulchre of Christ 


Most spiritual, and with a great -impression of silence : noble 
in light, and the chief angel, seen from the back, with brownish 
wings, a magnificent figure. Two other angels, who are lifting 
up the grave-clothes, are also very fine : the Saviour is awaking 
into life. The light of the picture emanates from Him ; the 
whole subject standing out upon a dark background of the stone 
and sepulchre, 

1 88. Christ appearing to the Apostles after the Resurrection. 

[Butts.] Tempera. 

A very fine little picture ; the colour, though not deep, well 
sustained. The figure of Christ is one of the best produced by 
Blake majesty and graciousness deepened into pathos. Seven 
figures are in adoration before Him all probably Apostles, 
though one especially might be taken for a woman. 

189. Christ overcoming the Incredulity of St. Thomas, [Butts.] 


Great in the expression of speechless, unspeakable adoration 
in the other ten Apostles, earth-bowed, 



190. *The Ascension. [Butts.] 

Christ floats upwards, from the view of the eleven Apostles ; 
His back turned, His arms extended. The sense of a perfectly 
accomplished mission is well conveyed. Two Angels float down- 
wards to the Apostles. 

191. The Conversion of St. Paul. [Butts.] 

192. * Felix and Brasilia ' Felix trembled.' [Butts.] 

The Felix and Drusilla, awe-struck, with upraised hands, are 
very fine ; she seeming to bow down in soul, with womanly 
faith ; very bright and tender. Paul, an energetic figure, with 
handsome, straight-featured countenance, points right upward 
with his chained arms. Behind him are the gaoler and four 
soldiers, all impressed, and forming a fine group. The colour 
tolerably high in tint, but washy. 

193. St. Paul shaking off the Viper. [Butts.] 

The group is not a noticeable one for Blake ; but there is a 
fine indication of sea in the background. 

194. The same. [Butts.] 

Somewhat better than the preceding. The primitive astonish- 
ment of the islanders is well expressed ; the viper is variegated 
with deep rich tints. 

195. The Seven Golden Candlesticks. [Butts.] 

196. *'And the angel which I saw lifted up his hand to heaven.' 


Described in the Sale-catalogue as ' very fine.' 

197. 'The Devil is come down.' [Butts.] 

Described in the Sale-catalogue as a fine, characteristic ex- 
ample of Blake's vigour and talent. 

198. ' He cast him into the bottomless pit.' [Butts.] 

Described in the Sale-catalogue as 'very powerful and 

199. Scene from the Apocalyptic Vision. [Butts.] 

Described in the Sale-catalogue as 'of grand conception, and 
highly characteristic.' 

200. Death on the Pale Horse 'And power was given him over all 

kindreds, and tongues, and nations.' [Butts.] 

Death is represented as an aged man. Colour strong. 

201. 'The number of the Beast is 666.' [Butts.] 

Described in the Sale-catalogue as ' of the same characteristic 

202. Eve. Pen-drawing, coloured. 

Lying in a trance : the serpent crawling over her body and 
licking her face. Fine. 

203. Satan exulting over Eve. [Butts.] Tempera. 

Eve, a beautiful, gorgeous woman, lies prone in front, close 
involved in the folds of the serpent. Satan, with shield and 


spear, swoops over her, a solid mass of tongued flame behind 
him. Very fine. 

204. *The Devil Rebuked. Burial of Moses. [Butts.] Water- 

colour, with pen -outline. 

The corpse of Moses, as ancient-looking as Cronos, and the 
mere shell of the inspired legislator, is exceedingly fine. It lies 
in a lax curve within the winding-sheet, which four angels are 
lowering into the earth. Michael is rebuking Satan in the sky ; 
the devil being of the athletic anatomical class, less Blakeian 
than usual. The colour is not carried far, but complete enough 
in effect. 

205. 'Thou wast perfect till iniquity was found in thee.' Ezek. 

xxviii. 15. [Butts.] 

A gorgeous six-winged cherub, in a blue day-sky, starlit. He 
holds an orb and sceptre, and is accompanied by a number of 
small, fairy- like angels. Bright in colour and extremely grand : 
the wings nobly managed. 

206. The Virgin and Child. Tempera. 

The Virgin is a half-figure. A quaint, mystic, Byzantine-look- 
ing little picture, impressive in its way. Gold is used in it. The 
colour has darkened considerably. 

207. The Holy Family. [Butts.] 

Elizabeth, the Baptist, and angels, are present along with 
Jesus and His parents. The whole basis of the subject is too 
unrealistic to allow of its possessing much interest : the colour 
is pale. 

208. The same. [Butts.] Tempera. 

The Virgin, seated, holds the Infant Christ on her knee. 
Joseph and Anna sit beside her ; the Infant Baptist, with a 
lamb, lies on the ground before them. On each side is an angel, 
hands clasped, head bowed ; another behind, with outstretched 
wings. Very pure in feeling, religious, and poetic. 

209. The Holy Family, with John the Baptist and a Lamb. 

210. The Virgin hushing the young Baptist, who approaches the 

sleeping Infant Christ. [Butts.] Tempera. 

The Baptist holds a butterfly : his face glows with eagerness 
to show his prize. Both he and the Infant Christ are naked. 
Mary has a very winning and attractive air, nicely balanced 
between the virginal and maternal characters. A red curtain, 
not harmonious in colour, forms the chief background object. 
Altogether, the picture is an extremely pretty one. 

211. *The Virgin and Child in Egypt. [Butts.] Tempera. 

Bust : front face. The Pyramids appear in the background. 
Very careful and pleasing. 

212. The Infant Christ riding a Lamb. [Butts.] Tempera. 

The Virgin, walking behind, holds Christ on the back of the 
lamb, which follows the young St. John, who is feeding it. A 
very sweet idea, expressed with refinement. 

R 2 


213. The Child Christ asleep upon a wooden Cross laid on the 

Ground. [Butts.] Tempera. 

The Virgin is standing by, in contemplation. Fine. 

214. Similar subject. [Butts.] Tempera. 

The Virgin, with an expression of inspired foreboding, is 
beautiful. Joseph is also present, using a pair of compasses. 

215. Similar subject. [Butts.] Tempera. 

A different and equally good composition, without Joseph. 

216. The Infant Jesus saying His prayers 'And the Child grew and 

waxed strong.' [Butts.] 

Very radiant, and like a child's dream ; the colour slight, but 
bright. Jesus kneels upon His bed to pray ; angels are all 
round the head and foot of the bed, with Mary and Joseph 
behind, and two other angels floating above. 

217. Christ in the Lap of Truth, and between his Earthly Parents. 


The interesting and characteristic, though not salient, picture 
which was rather concealed than displayed at the International 
Exhibition of 1862. 

218. The Humility of the Saviour. [Butts.] 

He is represented as a youth some thirteen years of age, hold- 
ing a compass and a carpenter's square ; a light plays round 
His head. Joseph, a handsome man of middle age, has no 
supernatural light, whereas the Virgin is surrounded by a vivid 
illumination. A dark sky is seen through the rafters of the shed. 
A moderate specimen. 

219. The Covenant. [Butts.] 

Described in the Sale-catalogue as 'very fine/ 

220. The Assumption of the Virgin. [Butts.] 

Described in the Sale-catalogue as an elaborate and exqui- 
sitely finished work in Blake's finest manner. The Virgin is 
received by her Divine Son. 

221. ' Mercy and Truth are met together; Righteousness and Peace 

have kissed each other.' [Butts.] 

The personified Virtues are represented in two figures (not 
four). Jesus (it would appear) is the representative of Mercy 
and Righteousness : Truth and Peace are embodied in a beard- 
less youth. The two are seated, and turn round to kiss and 
embrace, their arms meeting over a Greek cross. Above, at the 
summit of some steps, is an aged man with a book, no doubt 
representing the Deity ; He is surrounded by a glory of angels. 
An interesting work, yellow being the predominant tint. 

222. 'The King of the Jews.' [Butts.] 

A symbolic figure of Christ, standing nearly unrobed, with the 
reed and the crown of thorns. There are great pathos and 
majesty in the countenance ; though the executive treatment, 
high and crude in colour, is not satisfactory. 


223. The Saviour in the Heavens, with floating Figures of Children 

and Angels. [Butts.] Tempera. 

May be assumed to represent Christ as the centre and hope 
of humanity an anticipation of the ' Christus Consolator ' popu- 
larised by Scheffer : or perhaps (as expressed by Blake, p. 262, 
Vol. I.) i Eternal Creation flowing from the Divine Humanity in 
Jesus.' Curious. 

224. *An Allegory of the Spiritual Condition of Man. [Butts.] 


The conception of the subject seems to approach to that of 
a Last Judgment, though not recognisable distinctly as such. 
Faith, Hope, and Charity, Adam and Eve, Satan, can be traced 
among the figures. This is one of Blake's largest works, some 
5^ feet by 4 feet in dimensions ; interesting, and fine in several 
of the figures, which stand nearly isolated one from the other 
here and there throughout the picture. 

225. Christ the Mediator. [Butts.] Tempera. 

He is interceding with the Father, represented as an aged 
man seated in kingly state, on behalf of a youthful woman, who 
is surrounded by angels. Somewhat wanting in purity of colour. 

226. *A Head of Christ in Glory. [Butts.] Tempera. 

Life-sized : a curious effort. Much patience has been expended 
. upon the dress, which is executed all over in a ribbed texture. 

226A*The Redemption. 

227. The Fall of the Damned. 

228. ^Judgment. Colour-printed. 

Presumed to be a ' Last Judgment ;' or, possibly, the ' Judg- 
ment of Paris/ No. 108 (?) 

229. *Hervey's Meditations a practical epitome. [Butts.] 

A compartmented arrangement, not unlike that which Blake 
applied more than once to the ' Last Judgment.' Admirable in 
art, and in spiritual impression. 


230. EIGHT DESIGNS from ' Comus.' [Butts.] 

A delicate, quiet series, of small size, in pale colour, and a 
simple, chaste, not elaborate style of form and execution. The 
backgrounds are tender and suggestive. 

(</) Comus with his Revellers. 

Starlight. Comus holds the enchanting cup : his companion 
revellers have the heads of a pig, a dog, a bull, and (apparently) 
a parrot. The lady is reclined upon a bank in front. 

(&) Comus, disguised as a Rustic, addressing the Lady in the 

The lady, slim and erect in form, is a charming figure : the 
Guardian Spirit hovers near her. The wood is represented with 
upright sturdy trunks, unbroken by lower leafage. 


(c) The Brothers, as described by Comus, plucking Grapes. 

A fine background of thick trees, and a sky indicative of ap- 
proaching night, with a yoke of oxen, and the Guardian Spirit 
in a lozenge-shaped glory. 

(d) The two Brothers passing the Night in the Wood. 

Each holds his drawn sword, and is stationed between two 
trees ; betwixt them stands the Guardian Spirit, under the 
aspect of a shepherd. The moon, in her dragon-drawn car, is 
above. Fine in simple, ideal feeling. 

(e) Comus, with the Lady spell-bound in the Chair. 

The lady's enchanted motionlessness is well expressed. Several 
of the monstrous revellers are at table a cat, an elephant, a lion, 
a pig, a long-billed bird. A serpent is flying about ; a grotesque 
attendant, halfway between a Chinaman and an ape, stands near 
the lady. Quaint and sprightly in expression. 

(f) The Brothers driving out Comus. 

Comus decamps, with the smile still on his lips ; flames burst 
forth at his feet ; phantom heads loom above. The action of 
the brothers is lithe and impulsive. 

(g) Sabrina disenchanting the Lady. 

A rainbow arches over the nymph ; the rayed light is rising 
through a gap in the hills. 

(h) The Lady restored to her Parents. 

A very graceful figure of the lady. The Guardian Spirit re- 
sumes his angelic shape, and hovers off; the brothers gaze upon 
him. A sweet effect of the sun rising over the hills, with trees 
close to the figures. 

EIGHT DESIGNS from * Comus.' Another set. 

Essentially like the foregoing, but larger, and different in 
detail. The items a, c, d, e, andy^ offer important variations. 

231. TWELVE ILLUSTRATIONS to the 'Allegro' and * Penseroso.' 

A very pretty and interesting series, of small dimensions, in 
which Blake's turn for personifying and idealising comes out as 
strong as in the ' Prophetic Books,' but divested of terror, and, of 
course, following the main lines traced by the poet. Each design 
is accompanied by a slip of Blake's handwriting, giving the 
extract from the poem and his own analysis of the design : the 
latter will be subjoined here in inverted commas. The colour 
generally is very Blakeian bright, light, and many-tinted : it 
may be called ' variegated ' colour, like that of a pale tulip. 

(a) From the ' Allegro 1 : Mirth and her Companions ' Jest 
and Youthful Jollity, 7 &c., &c. 

' These personifications are all brought together in the first 
design, surrounding the principal. figure, which is Mirth herself.' 
She is much larger than the other figures. Fair. This has 
been engraved by Blake. 


(b) The Lark startling Night. 

' The lark is an angel on the wing. " Dull Night " starts from 
"his watch tower" on a cloud. The Dawn, with her dappled 
horses, arises above the Earth. The Earth beneath awakes at 
the lark's voice.' Very pleasing in the effect of the retreating 
night-sky, with some big scattered stars. 

(c) 'Sometimes walking, not unseen,' &c., &c. The Plough 
man, Milkmaid, Mower, Shepherd under hawthorn. 

' The "great sun" is represented clothed in flames, surrounded 
by the clouds in their " liveries," in their various offices at the 
eastern gate. Beneath, in small figures, Milton "walking by 
elms on hillocks green " ; the ploughman, the milkmaid, the 
mower whetting his scythe, and the shepherd and his lass 
" under a hawthorn in the dale." ' The crimson-tipped flames 
round Phoebus in the sun-disc gather like heavy locks of hair. 
The lower section of the design forms a very small and pretty 

d The Village Holiday 

1 Sometimes with secure delight, 
The upland hamlets will invite,' &c. 

' In this design is introduced 

" Mountains on whose barren breast 
The labouring clouds do often rest." 

' Mountains, clouds, rivers, trees, appear humanized on the " sun- 
shine holiday." The church steeple, with its merry bells. The 
clouds arise from the bosoms of mountains, while two angels 
sound their trumpets in the heavens, to announce the " sunshine 
holiday."' The lower part of the design, with a dance round 
the maypole and a background of trees, is very sweet in feeling. 
Throughout there is much pretty Springlike colour. 

(<?) The Fireside Stories of Mab, Robin Goodfellow, &c. 

* The Goblin, " crop-full, flings out of doors " from his laborious 
task, dropping his flail and creambowl, yawning and stretching ; 
vanishes into the sky, in which is seen Queen Mab, eating " the 
junkets." The sports of the fairies are seen through the cottage, 
where "she" lies in bed, pinched and pulled by fairies, as they 
dance on the bed, the ceiling, and the floor ; and a ghost pulls 
the bed-clothes at her feet. " He " is seen following the " friar's 
lantern " towards the convent/ The Goblin is represented as a 
giant ; his diaphanous body takes the dusky tinges of the dawn- 
twilight sky. 

(/) ' There let Hymen oft appear,' &c. Marriage-pomp and 

'The youthful poet, sleeping on a bank by the "haunted 
stream," by sunset, sees in his dream the more bright sun of 
Imagination under the auspices of Shakespeare and Jonson, in 
which is Hymen at a marriage, and the " antique pageantry " 
attending it.' Extremely charming in colour ; youth-like and 
mellow both. The ' haunted stream ' has an incident to itself, 
seen below on a small scale : two women huddling upright at 


the sight of three female ghosts of pained aspect, hovering over 
the stream. 

(g) From the ' Penseroso : ' Melancholy, Peace, Contempla- 
tion, &c. 

Headed ' Melancholy Pensieroso.' ' These personifications 
are all brought together in this design, surrounding the principal 
figure, who is Melancholy herself.' A refined design, the colour 
delicately in sympathy with the pensive tenderness of the poem. 

(/*) The Moon and the Curfew. 

' Milton, in his character of a student at Cambridge, sees the 
moon terrified as one " led astray," in the midst of her path 
through heaven. The distant steeple seen across a wide water 
indicates the sound of the curfew-bell.' The moon is personified 
as Diana ; the stars grow on stems, like flowers. 

(/) Astronomy and Speculation ' The Spirit of Plato.' 

' The spirit of Plato unfolds his worlds to Milton in contempla- 
tion. The Three Destinies sit on the circles of Plato's heavens, 
weaving the thread of mortal life : these heavens are Venus, 
Jupiter, and Mars. " Hermes " flies before, as attending on the 
heaven of Jupiter. The Great Bear is seen in the sky beneath 
Hermes, and the spirits of Fire, Air, Water, and Earth, surround 
Milton's chair.' In the heaven of Venus are portrayed the Fall 
of Man and the Expulsion from Eden. 

(/) The retirement to 

' twilight groves, 
And shadows brown that Sylvan loves/ 

* Milton, led by Melancholy into the groves away from the 
sun's " flaring beams," who is seen in the heavens, throwing his 
darts and flames of fire. The spirits of the trees, on each side, 
are seen under the domination of insects raised by the sun's 
heat.' The 'insects' are 'spiritual forms' of insects fairy-like 
creatures. The sun is very vivid ; the colouring ' marbled/ as it 
were, with pinks, blacks, and yellows. This is altogether one of 
the most memorable designs of the series. 

(k) The Mid-day Dream by the Brook- side. 

' Milton sleeping on a bank ; Sleep descending, with a 
" strange, mysterious dream/' upon his wings, of scrolls, and 
nets, and webs, unfolded by spirits in the air and in the brook. 
Around Milton are six spirits or fairies, hovering on the air, 
with instruments of music.' Fine. 

(/) An old Age of Wisdom and Insight spent in a Hermitage. 

'Milton, in his old age, sitting in his "mossy cell," contem- 
plating the constellations, surrounded by the spirits of the herbs 
and flowers, bursts forth into a rapturous prophetic strain.' A 
very fine and spiritual design, possibly the best of the series. 
The ' spirits of the herbs and flowers ' are charmingly personi- 
fied. The aged Milton is a noble image of an inspired sage : 
it will be observed that Blake, following the poet's aspiration 
for his old age, takes no count of his actual blindness. 


232. *The Expulsion of the Rebel Angels. Oil painting (?) on copper. 

Oval- shaped. 

A most carefully-painted work : the colour deep and full. The 
rebel angels are falling, pursued by an archangel : below, the 
globe of hell opens to receive them. Satan has already dropped 
upon the burning marl in the centre of the globe. The figures 
are about forty in number. 

233. *Satan calling up his Legions. Tempera. 

The same subject as No. 51, but a different composition ; also 
exceedingly fine. 

234. *Satan at the Gate of Hell, guarded by Sin and Death. 

May presumably have belonged at first to the set of Nine 
Designs from ' Paradise Lost,' N o. 90. 

235. *The Characters in Spenser's * Faery Queen.' [Lord Lecon- 


The figures are brought together as in procession. Done as a 
companion to the ' Canterbury Pilgrimage/ but not so elaborate, 
correct, or exhaustive ; fine nevertheless, though archaic and 
singular. The Red-cross Knight with the dragon, Una with the 
lion, Talus, can be readily identified. In the sky are some 
allegoric figures, and in the background a Gothic cathedral and 
other buildings. Eighty guineas, a large sum in Blake's case, 
was given to Mrs. Blake by Lord Egremont for this picture, 
now considerably clouded over by its varnish. See p. 409 
Vol. I. 

236. Robinson Crusoe. 

A visionary effect of colour, like a transparency. Fine. 

237. ' But Hope re-kindled, only to illume 

The shades of death, and light her to the tomb.' 
Tinted water-colour. 
See pp. 271-2, Vol. I. 

238. TWENTY-EIGHT DESIGNS from the ' Pilgrim's Progress.' Water- 

colours^ often unfinished ; one or two little beyond pencil-sketches. 
These are rather small designs, having quite a sufficient 
measure of Blake's spirit in them, but much injured by the 
handiwork of Mrs. Blake, the colour being untidy-looking and 
heavy, for the most part ; crude where strength is intended. 
Two of the designs, at any rate, may be considered untouched 
by Mrs. Blake. 

(a) Christian terrified in reading the Book. 

He is bowed under his burden, and, as Bunyan represents him, 
in rags. Angry skirts of flame lour through a heavy-clouded 
sky. Valuable in invention, and one of the most finished of 
the series. 

(b) Christian leaving the City of Destruction. 

He runs, almost crushed under the burden. The subject is 
powerfully felt. 

(c) Evangelist directing Christian on his Road. 

One of the most finished of the series. 


(d) The Slough of Despond. 

Pliable is turning backward to the City of Destruction. Fair. 

(<?) Help lifting Christian out of the Slough. 

One of the finest. The background, with a crimson setting 
sun, is grandly conceived. 

(f) Worldly Wiseman directing Christian to Sinai. 

An able design, with fine points of effect. 

(g) Christian at Sinai. 

The flames crudely coloured. 

(h) Evangelist raising up Christian, prostrate at Sinai. 
Dignified in design. 

(/) Christian knocking at the Wicket-gate. 

The gate, of Gothic form, bears the inscription, * Knock, and 
it shall be opened.' The glimpse of landscape is impressive. 

(_/) Christian and the Interpreter, with the Man fallen from 
Grace in the Iron Cage. Half executed. 

(k) Christian and the Interpreter, with the Man waking from a 
Dream of the Last Judgment. 

(/) Christian before the Crucifix, his Burden falling off. 

One of the most finished and inventive in design. A trailing 
vine is prominently introduced. 

(m) The Three Shining Ones saluting Christian at the Cross. 

(n) Christian sleeping in the Arbour. 

This appears to be the subject. A couched lion is arbitrarily 
introduced, with some separate incidents behind. 

(o) Christian ascending the Hill Difficulty. 

Christian's ' filthy rags ' are now exchanged for the * broidered 

(/) Christian passing the Lion-guarded Entrance to the Palace 


(q) Christian fighting with Apollyon. 

(r) Christian beset by Demons in the Valley of the Shadow of 

This appears to be the subject, though it looks as much like 
the First Temptation of Christ in the Wilderness 'Command that 
these stones shall be made bread.' Besides the chief fiend, there 
are other demon-heads appearing along a sort of flight of steps. 

(s) Faithful narrating his Experiences to Christian. Only begun. 
Besides the two pilgrims, two visionary discs representing the 
events narrated by Faithful are given. 

(/) Vanity Fair. Half-colour. 

A harlequin is playing his antics, among other figures. 


(u) The Soul of Faithful ascending in the Fiery Chariot. 

Fine in conception. 

(v) Giant Despair locking Christian and Hopeful in Prison. 
(w) Christian and Hopeful escaping from Prison. Unfinished. 

Other figures appear inside the prison a point not expressed 
by Bunyan, save in the Second Part of the ' Pilgrim's Progress.' 

(x) Giant Despair baffled by their Escape. Unfinished, 
(y) Christian and Hopeful, with the Shepherds of the Delectable 
Mountains. Unfinished. 

(z) The Shining Ones in Beulah. 

But that the faces are mauled by Mrs. Blake, the tender 
rainbow hues of this design would make it a charming one. 

(a 1 ) Christian sinking in the River of Death. Pencil- sketchy 
almost colourless. 

(^) Christian returning Home. 

So marked : interesting in invention. Christian, who here 
appears again with the burden on his shoulders, is received by 
God, surrounded by a glory of angels in the form of a pointed 

239. *The Pilgrimage of Christiana. 

A separate subject, not belonging to the preceding series. 

240. Oberon, Titania, and Puck, with Fairies dancing. 

Fine. Oberon is a kingly, crowned figure ; Titania sweet and 
graceful ; Puck has a capital face, full of mischief, yet very 
unlike the ordinary conception. The clasped arms and hands of 
the fairy ring present a highly dance-like action ; the accepted 
idea of fairies is adhered to, and expressed in very true keeping ; 
they are not, however, of diminutive size. 

241. Oberon and Titania on a Lily. Tinted. 

Exhibited in Manchester in 1857. See pp. 2-3, Vol. I. 

242. Seven Heads, or Groups of Heads from Shakespeare : Lear 

and Cordelia ; the same (?) ; Lear (?) ; Juliet with the sleep- 
ing Draught ; Macbeth and his Wife ; Othello and Desde- 
mona ; Falstaff and Prince Hal. [Butts.] 

These small heads are no doubt early works, neat and vapid 

in manner, and far from satifactory in character. The Juliet is 

perhaps the best. 

243. A Picture from Ovid's Metamorphoses. See Vol. I., pp. 346-7. 

244. Count Ugolino and his Sons in Prison. Tempera. 

Somewhat similar to the subject in the ' Gates of Paradise.' 

245. The River of Life. [Butts.] 

A fine and very captivating specimen, exquisitely composed, 
and moderately complete in execution. A mother and two 

k children, admirably in motion, are launched upon the blue 

river, whose current flows smooth and rapid : at the sides are 


two figures with flutes ; on the banks, houses and trees ; and in 
the central heaven a golden sun and a male figure darting down- 
ward. A second female figure on the river, coming forward 
against the current, seems to be vainly endeavouring to stem it. 

246. Letho Similis. 

A design for a monument : the female figure (lying upon a 
tomb inscribed as in the title), pure and graceful, more like 
Flaxman's style of form than Blake's, and tinted to represent 
marble. She appears to symbolise the hope of immortality in 
the slumber of death, realising the conception of the words 
' She is not dead, but sleepeth.' The rest of the design, flowers 
and foliage treated in a simple, naturalistic manner, seems 
certainly not to have been the handiwork of Blake ; indeed 
the authorship of the entire work may be questioned. This 
design is in the British Museum. 

247. Tithonus and Aurora. Body-colour. 

The title suggested may be correct. 

248. *' And Pity, like a naked, new-born babe 
Striding the blast, or Heaven's Cherubim horsed 
Upon the sightless couriers of the air.' MACBETH. y 


Blake does not seem to have had any particular idea to express 
in this design, but to have taken the words of the quotation and 
let them carry him as far as they could. We have accordingly a 
naked child borne off by two supernatural figures riding blind 
horses through the air : a woman, apparently the newly-delivered 
mother of the child, lies in front, dead or tranced, her blue eyes 
open, but with no i speculation, 5 her hands clasped below the 
uncovered bosom ; a grand figure, at once beautiful and terrible. 
The unearthly strangeness and impetuosity of the upper group 
maintain the great quality of this design, which is moreover a 
very fine piece of colour, the green of the grassy earth and the 
slaty purple of the twilight sky telling for a good deal in its 
general effect. 

249. Age teaching Youth. 

Youth is personified in a male and a female figure, seated 
on the grass ; the former is in a dress of various bright colours. 

250. An Old Man and a Woman in contemplative Adoration amid 


Unfinished ; dignified in character. A ray of colourless light 
comes towards the figures. 

251. Churchyard Spectres frightening a Schoolboy. 

Only half executed, but exceedingly strong in conception of 
the subject. One of the spectres is a howling old woman, who 
bursts out upon the schoolboy, hovering close to a tombstone. 
Another stands in the opening of the gabled church-door ; an 
old Hebraic pedagogic man, who points to his fellow-spectre and 
holds a flaming birch-rod. A break in the clouds shows the blue 
of the night-sky and two big stars. 


252. ' The Lord hath broken the staff of the wicked.' 

The subject is a pope, escorted through hell by a demon or 
avenging angel, and witnessing the punishment of kings and 
barons sunk in a fiery swamp. These figures are admirable. 
The pope, manacled, turns backward to stare at a naked man 
tumbling through the air, entwined by a serpent. Very horrid 
in conception. 

253. The same. Water colour, with slight pen outline. 

A smaller design, similar to the preceding. The background 
is black ; the colouring bad perhaps the handiwork of Mrs. 

254. *Plague. 

A fine duplicate of No. 55, a good deal neater in handling 
and with more points of 'classic ' treatment. 

255. Designs from English History A series. 

An early work. Three subjects from this series were exhibited 
in the collection at the Burlington Club, 1876. 

256. A Recumbent Figure, hovered over by Angels. 

Delicatenn glow of colour : the composition very characteristic 
and spiritual. 

257. Hecate. [Butts.] Colour-printed. 

The triple Hecate is crouched to the right ; three separate 
figures, close together, exceedingly grand. To the left appears 
a donkey browsing, with an owl and a crocodilean head : an elfin 
bat flits over the Hecate figures. Executed with great depth 
and completeness of effect, and altogether not to be surpassed 
in Blake's special range of power. The National Gallery in 
Edinburgh possesses a duplicate. 

258. Exodus, chap. xxix. 20. 'And the Cherubims shall stretch 

forth their wings on high.' 

So marked, but the subject does not correspond with the 
quotation. It represents a dead lord in the tomb, in perfect 
calm, with two praying angels above, their wing-tips meeting ; 
they float upward from his head and feet. Finely expressed in 
subject ; the execution, slight in colour, is not of Blake's highest 

259. A Husband parting from his Wife and Child Two Assassins 

lurking in Ambush. 

Beautiful in tone and sentiment ; the young wife especially 
tender and gentle. The full moon shines over a lake. One of 
the assassins is a woman of the lowest animal type, yet without 
any aspect of peculiar ferocity ; she holds two daggers. 

160. The Accusers of Theft, Adultery, and Murder. Colour- 

A coloured version of the design partially engraved (from a 
steel plate) on p. 304, Vol. I : the middle figure in dark plate- 
armour. Very grand. 


261. An Aged Man addressing a Multitude. Colour-printed. 

He stands under a tree, speaking in command or exhortation : 
the listeners seem to be despondent, as under some national 
calamity. Good, without extravagance of form or colour. Accu- 
rately and fully executed in strong, bright tints. 

262. Misfortune and Happiness (?). Colour-printed. 

A mourning woman crouches under a drooping, blasted tree- 
trunk. In front of her stands a beautiful naked young woman, 
tossing and kissing her naked child ; a charmingly designed 
group. A little red bird flying to the right, relieved upon a back- 
ground of densest cloud, deserves notice for the daringly simple 
way in which it is executed. Richly coloured in masses, with 
little or no subsequent re-touching. 

263. Three Figures struggling in the Air. 

264. 'Arise, O Rintrah,' &c., design for a Prophetic Book. [Linnell.] 

265. The Dream. 

266. *The Spiritual Form of Napoleon. Tempera. 

A very powerful example of effect, and otherwise impressive. 
In the same style as the Nelson and Pitt, No's. 94, 95. 

267: Satan showing the Pope his Destiny in Hell. Colour-printed. 
See No. 252, the subject-matter of which is akin to this. 

LIST No. 2. 

Including Drawings in Indian Ink, or with merely slight Washes of Colour. 

* Means considerable size. The Works not otherwise defined are known or assumed 
to be Pencil-drawings. 



1. 1778 (?). Sketch for the * Jane Shore.' 

Neat and rather ordinary in style, not quite unlike Retzsch, but 
with fair merit on inspection. The spectators of Jane's penance 
are good in expression. See No. i, List i. 

2. Circa 1791 (?). A Naked Man, touching a Ram as he recedes. 

Daringly designed. At the back Blake has written, in title-page 
form, ' The Bible of Hell, in Nocturnal Visions collected. Vol. I. 
Lambeth.' This will be understood by the readers of ' The 
Marriage of Heaven and Hell.' 

3. 1793. Ugolino. 

In outline ; a preparation for the design in the ' Gates of 

4. 1793. A Visionary Head (?). 

Apparently a man of Blake's own time. On the back of the 

5. 1794. The Death of Ezekiel's Wife. Indian ink. 

The original design for the very finished plate referred to on 
P- 1 33, Vol. I. The prophet has a fine bearded head, different 
in type from that assigned by Blake to Job. There are three 
crouching friends, one of them a woman. A good average 


6. 1796 (?). *Job and his Friends 'What is man that Thou 

shouldst try him every moment ? ' Indian ink. 

The plate from this design is described on p. 133, Vol. I. In 
outline ; rather empty in manner. The friends are somewhat 
deficient in distinctive character. 

7. 1797. Designs in an unpublished Prophetic Book, named ' Vala, 

or the Death and Judgment of the Ancient Man : a Dream of 
Nine Nights ; by William Blake.' [Linnell.] 

There are a good number of designs, some thirty or forty, 
interspersed through this MS. as in the printed ' Prophetic 
Books,' and of the same general character ; but, whether through 
the want of the vigorous effects obtained in the engraving process, 
or through real inferiority, they fall short of the printed ones in 
impressiveness. -A design of a hooded snake with a woman's 
face is curious. 

8. 1797. Jacob and the Angel. 

One of the designs to Young's ' Night Thoughts ' : outline. On 
the back is a rough suggestion for a design of the Transfigura- 

9. 1800. The Head-piece of ' Little Tom the Sailor.' 

Done in a neat unimpulsive style, not nearly so effective as in 
the engraving. 

10. 1802 (?). --Sketch for a Frontispiece to Young's 'Night 
Thoughts ' (?). Pencil outline, partly gone over with ink. 

A figure which seems to be that of a poet in contemplation, 
and which is not unlike the type adopted for the figure of Young 
in the illustrated ' Night Thoughts,' appears at the foot of the 
composition ; the chariot of the sun at the summit, and some 
night-like symbols next below. Curious. 

n. 1802. Design for Hayley's 'Ballad of the Eagle.' 

On the back of the preceding ; this is unfortunately cut in half 
lengthways. It is handled with considerable care, and differs 
throughout in the details from the engraved design, though there 
is no mistaking the connexion of the two. An Indian-ink drawing 
of the same subject is also extant. 

12. 1805. Christ descending into the Tomb. 

Slight in handling : a first sketch for the illustration to Blair's 

13. 1805 (?) A Soul at the Door of Paradise (?). Indian ink. 

Slight in execution and ordinary in design ; probably intended 
for Blair's ' Grave.' The soul is a female figure, and two female 
angels stand within the door. 

14. 1805. The Old Man at Death's Door. 

Sketched on the back of the preceding. A preparatory design 
for the subject in Blair's ' Grave.' 

15. 1805. The Death of a Voluptuary. Indian ink. 

Interesting as being a close parallel in design, but not in 
character, to that of ' The Soul hovering over the Body,' en- 
graved in the ' Grave;' not at all like the engraved ' Death of 
the Strong Wicked Man.' The dead voluptuary is crowned with 


vine-leaves ; his soul, a female figure expressive of coarse 
passions, contemplates him with repulsion. Scratchy and rather 
ugly in execution. 

1 6. 1805. A young Man entering Death's Door. Indian ink. 

Probably a preparatory version of ( The Soul exploring the 
Recesses of the Grave/ 

17. 1805. A Design originally intended for Blair's 'Grave.' 'The 

Soul exploring the Recesses of the Grave (?).' Slightly washed 

with Indian ink. 

A figure in an ascending action at the summit of a monument, 
with another below precipitated into the dark void. Somewhat 
outrt, and not the same composition as in the engraving. 

18. 1805. The Death of the Strong Wicked Man Blair's 'Grave.' 

A very slovenly sketch of the principal figure in the engraved 
design, along with the Soul, which is here more in the attitude 
adopted in the engraving for ' The Soul hovering over the Body.' 
See No, 15, and p. 269, Vol. I. 

19. 1805. The Ascension of the beatified Soul (?). 

On the back of the preceding. The figure assumed to 
represent the soul is rising into the air from amid several other 
figures, and about to ascend through a pointed arched window. 
Very slight. 

20. 1805. Plague. 

An expressive and reasonably careful sketch for the grand 
water-colour No. 61, List I, engraved Chap. VII., Vol. I. 

21. Circa 1805 (?). 'Let loose the Dogs of War.' See p. 55, 

Vol. I. 

A savage cheering on hounds, who seize a man by the throat. 
Very fine. Evidently connected with a design engraved in 
Young's ' Night Thoughts.' though by no means identical with it. 

22. 1806. *Sketch for the Design of the Dedication to Blair's 

' Grave.' 

Rather slight, but the intention fully expressed. A sketch for 
No. 78, List i. 

23. 1806 (?).*' For the Grave.' 

So marked (not in Blake's handwriting). A sketchy beginning 
of a very elaborate composition. It may be conjectured to repre- 
sent the Human Spirit and Life in various conditions. The central 
point is a number of figures floating round a tree (the Tree of 
Life, or of the Knowledge of Good and Evil ?) ; other figures 
are dragging their fellows along, or being dragged, falling, 
praying, and so on. Like the following two, interesting and 
full of matter. 

24. 1807. *The Last Judgment. , 

A most elaborately planned treatment of the subject, crowded 
with figures, neatly and distinctly drawn : corresponding (at all 
events, in various points) with the composition described in the 
'Vision of the Last Judgment,' p. 181 ; not like the one in 
Blair's ' Grave.' Christ appears at the summit ; before Him, 


Adam and Eve, standing ; at the bottom, the Devil, triple- 
headed ; to Christ's right, the Just ascending ; to His left, the 
Condemned cast downwards. Marked ' The Original Drawing 
of Blake's Last Judgment.' Very interesting. Now in the 
possession of Dr. Aspland. 

25. 1807. *The same. 

A tracing from a completer version of the preceding design ; 
the whole scheme of the subject being more fully shown, the 
number of figures still greater. Inscribed by Mr. Tatham : ' A 
tracing of an elaborate drawing of his Last Judgment. The 
original picture was six feet long and about five wide, and was 
very much spoiled and darkened by over-work ; and is one of 
those alluded to in his Catalogue as being spoiled by the spirits 
of departed artists, or " blotting and blurring demons." This 
tracing is from some elaborate drawing which has never been 

26. 1809 or earlier. The Spirit of Nelson guiding Leviathan, in 

whose Folds are entangled the Nations of the Earth. 

So marked at the back by Blake. Nelson, a naked figure, 
stands in the middle, with the convolutions of the serpentine 
Leviathan, and heads and limbs of other human figures therein, 
rising on each side of him. A hasty and rather slovenly sketch, 
preparatory, no doubt, to the picture, List i, No. 94, referred to 
in the Descriptive Catalogue, p. 139, Vol. II. 

27. From 1789 to 1811, at least. THE BOOK of Sketches and MS. 

belonging to Mr. Rossetti (see page 88, Vol. I.) contains 
a number of sketches more or less slight, first thoughts of 
designs, &c. ; among them the following : 
(a) A tiger-like animal frightening a man, who escapes out of 
window : below, another head of the tiger. Pen and ink. 

The lower head especially, which has a very actual character, 
and yet looks as if it might have been a ' vision,' is capital. 

(V) Various sketches of a frightful gigantic old man devouring a 
human being. 

Perhaps Lucifer with Judas, from Dante's ' Hell ' ; but not 
corresponding with the design in the Dante series. 

(<;) 1810 (?). The Portrait of Blake engraved at Chap. XXXIV., 
Vol. I. 

On the same page is this curious entry : '23 May, 1810, found 
the Word golden.' Does * the Word ' mean ' the Bible ' ? 

(d) A Vision of Fear, and a Vision of Hope. 

The Fear is two men precipitated through space, in the folds 
of a serpent : the Hope is most peculiar merely a view of long 
human hair from the back of the head, gently waving. Perhaps 
Blake was thinking of the line, 

1 And Hope enchanting smiled, and waved her golden hair.' 

(e) 1789, &c. 1793-5. Several sketches for designs in 'Thel' 
and other Prophetic Books, and for the ' Gates of Paradise/ 
and 'Elohim creating Adam.' Pencil, or Indian ink occa- 


(/) Sketches bearing the following titles or mottoes, or of the 
subjects specified, corresponding in size, shape, &c. to the 
sketches for the * Gates of Paradise,' and probably intended 
at first to belong to that series : 

(7 1 ) 'Are glad when they can find the grave.' 

Engraved on p. 141, Vol. I. 
(g) ' Everything that grows 

Holds in perfection but a little moment.' SHAKESPEARE. 

An expanded flower, with two elfish habitants, one mounting, 
the other sinking. 

(h) A Cupid, or Infant, in a cage. 
(/) ' A fairy vision 

Of some gay creatures of the element 
That in the colours of the rainbow live.' 
Elves sporting in a rainbow. 
(/) ' As Daphne was root-bound.' MILTON. 

Daphne changing into a laurel-tree. 
(k) 'Murder/ 

An assassin approaching a sleeping man in bed. 

(/) A man about to throw himself off a cliff, held back by the 
hand of another man. 

(m) * Yet cannot I persuade me thou art dead.' MILTON. 

A mother gazing mournfully, yet tranquilly, upon a dead infant 

in her arms. 
\n) ' Whose changeless brow ne'er smiles nor frowns.' THOMSON. 

A man chained against a rock ; appears to personify Fate, as 
the design corresponds with No. 177, so entitled. 

28. 1815. The Laocoon. 

A very careful drawing from the antique group. See Vol. I. 
p. 297. Also another such drawing, partly worked with the pen. 

29. 1815. Jupiter, and other figures from antique marbles. 

Drawn for the same purpose as the preceding. The glory 
round the head of the Jupiter is composed of figures. 

30. 1819 and 1820. VISIONARY HEADS. [Linnell,] 

For some account of these most curious and often most 
characteristic and excellent heads, see pp. 300-3, &c. Vol. I. The 
* King Saul,' mentioned on p. 302, is not to be found among them. 

31. 1819, 18th Oct. The Builder of the Pyramids, and the Place 

where Blake saw this Personage. 

The head is engraved Chap. XXVIII., Vol. I. 

32. David. 

Young, as he went up against Goliath. Radiant eyes, and a 
face capable of much, for good or evil. Fine. 

33. Uriah, the husband of Bathsheba. 

A heavy, stupid man, with a huge cerebellum and enormous 

S 2 


34. Bathsheba. 

Sweet, soft, yielding, witty. 

35. Solomon. 

Age about forty ; a piercing, reflective, sensuous Jewish head, 
the eye exceedingly far back from the line of the nose, the chin 
blunt and very large. Admirable. 

36. Nebuchadnezzar. 

Vivid, and not wanting in truth to the Assyrian cast of coun- 
tenance. Below the head is a 'coin' of Nebuchadnezzar, 
engraved in Varley's ' Zodiacal Physiognomy.' 

37. Joseph and Mary, and the Room they were seen in. 

They are both very young Mary with a good deal of our 
contemporary ' prae-RafFaelite ' character. The ' room they were 
seen in' is a bedroom, wherein are an elderly man and two 

38. Socrates. 

Vivid eye, talking mouth. 

39. Mahomet. 

Something like Mrs. Blake according to Mr. Linnell : there is 
a kind of hint too of the semi-nude Dr. Johnson in St. Paul's. 
The mouth has a grim smilingness in it ; the forehead is very 
retreating but powerful. Fine. 

40. Cassfoelane, the British Chief. 

Quite a civilised personage ; as Mr. Linnell says, fit for the 
head man at Howell and James's. 

41. Boadicea. 

A less exaggerated instance of the contour of face seen in 
the Builder of the Pyramids, Chap. XXVIII., Vol. I. Strong 

42. Caractacus. 

A most powerful head, with high features, great dark eyes, and 
compressed forehead, singularly true to the conception of a lordly 
and vigorous-minded barbarian. There is a curious resemblance, 
too, to the Caractacus in the fresco which Mr. Watts sent to 
Westminster Hall, though that is considerably toned down in 

43. Canute. 

Marked 'Dark hair and eyes' The latter extremely open 
and gazing upward ; the jaw heavily rounded, like that of ai 
obese Frenchman. Not one of the best. 



44. An Anglo-Norman King. 

45. The Empress Maud, Mother to Henry II. 

The remains of a fine woman, but disagreeable ; the nose 
peaked, the mouth disdainful and supercilious. 

46. Queen Eleanor. 

Handsome : not very interesting. 


47. 1819, 13th Oct. Richard Cceur de Lion. 

Marked * Drawn from his spectre, quarter-past twelve, mid- 
night.' Bluntish features, steady, daring gaze : the kind of man 
to look everything, from the devil upwards, in the face. (A 
second very slight profile of Cceur de Lion is also in the series. ) 

48. King John. 

A little like the accepted head of King John, wonderfully subtle 
and daring. Seems too noble for this bete noire of English 
history. As a work of art, one of the very finest of the series. 

49. Falconbridge, the Bastard. 

A thorough fighter, with a bull-head a little like his lion-hearted 

50. Saladin. 

The kind of head that might do for John the Evangelist. 

51. Edward I. 

Engraved Chap. XXVIII., Vol. I. 

52. William Wallace. 

Engraved Chap. XXVIIL, Vol. I. 

53. A Welsh Bard. 

54. The Assassin lying dead at the feet of Edward I. in the Holy 


A leonine face ; almost literally scv 

55. Edward III. (?) 

A fine bearded head. 

56. Edward III. as he exists in the Spiritual World. 

Engraved Chap. XXVI 1 1., Vol. I. 

57. 1819, 30th Oct. Wat Tyler. 

Marked ( By William Blake, from his spectre, as in the act of 
striking the Tax-gatherer on the head : i hour A.M.' A capital 
head with stubbly beard, such as would make a good study for 
an artist's cartoon of the subject. 

58. Wat Tyler's Daughter. 

A laughing plebeian, with great eyes. 

59. Owen Glendower. 

A surly, supercilious, unpleasant head, well realised. 

60 Hotspur. 

A wonderfully vivid image of an audacious fighting man, born 
to fight, who will gain by dash what he has discovered to be 
gainable by instantaneous coup d'ceil. 

6 1. Friar Bacon and the Poet Gray. 

So inscribed, but not by Blake. Very slight ; on the same 
piece of paper. 


62. 1820, Aug. Old Parr at the age of Forty. 

A perfectly naked figure, aiming probably to represent a man 
admirably constituted for vital strength and endurance. Carefully 
drawn, with the short thorax characteristic of Blake's figures. 

63. Cancer. 

Presumably a man born under the influence of the sign of 

Cancer. A cantankerous, yet large-minded man, not wholly 

unlike Benjamin Franklin or Blake himself, but of a highly 
outre type. 

64. * Portrait of a Man who instructed Mr. Blake in Painting, in his 


An outrt oval face, with something of a Mongolian cast, and 
a very prim, clean-cut mouth. 

65. The Ghost of a Flea. 

The Flea's mouth open below, not unlike the head engraved 
p. 303, Vol. I. 

66. Five Visionary Heads of Women. [Mrs. Alex. Gilchrist.] 

Sketch engraved at p. 298, Vol. I. 

67. Other Visionary Heads. 

This set does not belong to Mr. Linnell, but has, as yet, 
remained with the Varley family, and is described by Allan 
Cunningham, Lives of the Painters, Vol. II. pp. 168-170. 

68. 'The Egyptian Taskmaster who was killed and buried by 


A head with a pyramidal facial angle, wearing a skull-cap : 
something like an early Florentine drawing. 

69. ' Saul, King of Israel, somewhat influenced by Evil Spirits/ 

On the same sheet of paper as the preceding. A large and 
massive yet small-featured face, with narrow dazed-looking eyes. 

70. Pindar 'as he stood a Conqueror in the Olympic games.' 

A large bearded head. 

71. Corinna. 

Two heads, of rather large dimensions, on the same page. 
One is marked l Corinna the Rival of Pindar ' ; and the other, 
' Corinna the Grecian Poetess.' The first is a front-face, the 
second a profile. Each has the mouth open, with the teeth and 
tongue visible ; large, gleaming, upturned eyes ; and a large 
space between the eyebrow and eyelid. A handsome woman. 

72. Socrates. 

Not so marked, but there is no mistaking the features : a 

73. A Classic Head. 

Slightly drawn. Clustering hair suggestive of horns . 

74. A Mediaeval King. 

A crowned head : might be Cceur de Lion. 


75. King John. 

Crowned : the head, from the eyes upwards, extremely con- 
tracted : the eyes large and arresting. A handsome and able 
looking personage, a little grim. 

76. Henry VIII. 

A small, grotesque, babyish head, neatly executed : I think it 
represents Bluff King Hal. There is the same sort of frontal 
protuberance as in the "Edward III. as he exists in the 
Spiritual World " : above this, come crisp flickering hairs, like 
curls of flame. 

77. Satan. 

A full-fronting face, somewhat resembling William the Con- 
queror, but more abstract. The head is helmed, with plumes 
which are formed partly of human figures. This detail suggests 
that Blake may have intended to express the phrase of Milton 
regarding Satan ' On his head sat Horror plumed.' . 

78. John Varley. 

Marked l Portrait of J. Varley, by Wm. Blake. Born August 
17, 1778, 1 8. 56 m . \ ascending.' A round fleshy face, smooth 
and sleek, and fairly good-looking. 

79. A Female Head. 

A large outline profile of a handsome young woman, of a sort 
of Grecian modernised tendency. Resembles the head of 
1 Gemini ' in Varley's ' Zodiacal Physiognomy,' but is less extreme 
in type. 

80. Two Heads. 

Marked in the margin, but not in Blake's handwriting, * See 
Murdoch on Insanity.' One head, about the best of this whole 
set, might almost be supposed to be a caricature of Fuseli, as 
shown in Lavater's engraving ; the profile coming very pro- 
minently forward up to the tip of the nose, and thence receding. 
The second head is a woman of mature age, of very upright 
features, nearly in full-face. 

8 1. Lois. 

A mirthful but rather repellent visage, full-fronting. The 
outline of the face is excessively egg-shaped : the hair stands 
curiously away from the outline, curling backwards. 

82. C. 1820. A Sketch-book containing various designs. 

This book belongs to Mr. W. B. Scott, and has been described 
in the Portfolio, July 1871. It contains a full-length figure of 
The Ghost of a Flea : the head of this figure is the one which 
Varley introduced into his ' Zodiacal Physiognomy,' and which is 
engraved in the present work, Vol. I. p. 303, see also No. 65. 
Another important design in the Sketch-book is a Visionary 
Head of the first wife of Milton ; a handsome woman, with 
very firm and chiselled, yet not masculine, features. 

83. 1820. The Series of Twenty Designs to Phillips's Pastoral. 

[Linnell.] Indian ink. 

Delicately executed, with different degrees of finish ; a trifle 
larger than the woodcuts (see Chap. XXX., Vol. I.), and 


occasionally varying slightly from them. The only one which was 
not engraved represents the two shepherds standing together, 
with sheep, &c., behind. The engraved frontispiece is not 
included in this set. 

84. 1825. Achilles. 

Marked (presumably by Varley) * Head of Achilles drawn by 
William Blake at my request, 1825.' The face is rather like 
that of Alexander the Great, with a large ear and clustering hair. 
Slight, but good. 

85. 1825. Job and His Three Daughters. 

Slight in execution ; the design pretty nearly as in the 
engraved plate, but without the visionary subjects in the 

86. 1825-6. The Six-footed Serpent attacking Agnolo Brunelleschi 


An interesting sketch for the Dante water-colour, List i, 
No. 123, x^ : the central group fine. 

87. 1825-6. Brunelleschi half-transformed by the Serpent Dante. 

Sketch for No. 123^'-, List I. 

88. 1827. Six Designs from the Opening of the Book of Genesis. 

[Linnell.] Pencil, with tints of colour here and there. 

These were drawn in the year of Blake's death. They show 
some uncertainty of hand, but not much further change. They 
are, however, extremely slight. The subjects are i. a Title- 
page, with God the Father and Son, the four living creatures used 
as the Evangelical Symbols, and Adam ; 2. Similar subject 53. 
The Creator ; 4. The Trinity creating Adam ; 5. The creation of 
Eve ; 6. God setting the- mark upon Cain. 




89. Eve and the Serpent. 

A good design, in slight outline. The serpent is wound round 
Eve, who appears (as in No. 90 g, List i), to be eating the 
forbidden fruit out of the tempter's very jaws. 

90. God convicting Adam and Eve. 

Fine in feeling, spite of extreme slightness. 

9 1 . The Death of Abel. Indian ink. 

Abel lies dead on the ground ; Cain, a grand figure, stares 
upon the corpse, with his hands up to his head. Adam and Eve 
look on from a distance, clasping each other : they appear 
scarcely so old as their sons. Perhaps this design is less in- 
tended as a direct illustration of the Death of Abel than as an 
ideal subject of the same class, in affinity with the headpiece to 
the ' America/ 

92. The Deluge : also two other sketches. (Framed together.) 


93. Abraham preparing to sacrifice Isaac. [Butts.] Indian ink, 

with slight traces of colour, and very highly varnished all over 
into tone. 

They both kneel, Isaac appearing quite reconciled to his 
doom. A small design, probably early, and much closer to 
the ordinary artistic type of such .works than Blake's wont. 
As such, agreeably treated. 

94. Pestilence The Death of the Firstborn. 

The same subject, but not the same design, as No. 62, List i. 
Here a wingless figure flies forward, scattering the pestilence. 
Below is the Angel protecting the Israelitish house. On the 
back is an indication of another design of the same subject, 
also different. 

95. Moses staying the Plague. Pen and ink. 

96. *Moses receiving the Law. Indian ink. 

An interesting treatment of the subject, though not noticeable 
in point of design. Moses, standing erect, extends both arms 
upwards at full length, in the act of receiving the tablets. 
Flames are behind him ; and a densely dark cloud conceals 
all, from the lower part of the tablets upwards. 

97. *From Job: 'Every one also gave him a piece of money' (?). 

Pencil, slightly touched with Indian ink. 

Quite a different design from the one in the engraved Job 
Series. The supposed Job and his young wife sit in the middle, 
with tall female figures approaching from the two sides. God 
and some cherubs are above. Interesting. 

98. The Death of Ezekiel's Wife. Indian ink. 

A different design from No. 5, less good. Ezekiel has an 
aspect of more entire resignation ; the friends here are four 
in number. 

99. The Prodigal Son. 

Extremely slight, but there seems scarcely a doubt of the 
subject intended. The son rushes up a flight of stairs into 
the arms of the father, a Ghrist-like figure, who kneels at the 
head of the steps ; a young girl kneels beside him, and joins in 
embracing her brother. To the right, two figures stand aside, one 
holding a very prominent pair of keys. Interesting in conception, 
and impulsive in, action, spite of its slightness. 

100. The Parable of the Sower. Indian ink. 

Christ (not a satisfactory figure) is represented addressing a 
number of persons of all conditions. Behind, an angel in the 
sky is seen sowing the seed. The merit of this design is greater 
on examination than its interest at first sight. According to 
another interpretation, it represents 'Christ as the Good Farmer,' 
distributing His produce to the poor ; and a group in the back- 
ground shows a hard-hearted farmer whose goods are being 
destroyed by lightning. 

101. Christ as the Good Shepherd. 

Different from the preceding, but in some degree analogous 
to it. 


1 02. *The Good Farmer. Pen and ink. 

A scriptural subject. 

103. The Resurrection. 

A sketch for a design afterwards executed. 

104. The Magdalene at the Sepulchre. 'She turned herself back 

and saw Jesus standing.' [Butts.] Indian ink, with slight 
touches of colour. 

Mary kneels at the bottom of the steps leading into the 
sepulchre, wherein are the two kneeling angels. She is just 
within the entrance-arch ; a graceful, beautiful woman, with 
what might be termed a modern air (noticeable also, for in- 
stance, in the engraved designs of Job's daughters). Behind 
her stands Christ, whom Blake (as nearly always) aims to make 
noticeably ' handsome.' Of course, the success in this figure 
is very qualified. The angels have a tranquil, conscious air, 
conducive to dignity of presentment. An important though 
not fully completed specimen. 

105. Noli me tangere. 

1 06. Christ, after the Resurrection, appearing to the Apostles in the 

' Upper Chamber.' 

On the back of No. 90. The Saviour stands right in the 
midst of the composition. Very slight, yet not destitute of 

107. Christ showing the Print of the Nails to the Apostles. Indian 


1 08. Eve and Satan (?). 

The supposed Satan is a vehemently flying figure, but wingless. 
A moderate specimen. 

109. Sketch of the Virgin, Baptist, and sleeping Jesus List i. 

No. 210. [Linnell.] 

no. Christ trampling down Satan. 

The supposed Satan is an aged figure ; his conqueror may 
possibly be Michael. Or the whole subject might equally well 
stand for the New Dispensation superseding the Old Law. 
Noteworthy for grand, powerful, and correct drawing. 

in. A Woman amid Clouds, with Demons crouching below. 

Religious and spiritual. Remarkable for the careful finish 
and almost prettiness of the female figure ; at first sight hardly 
like Blake in this respect. 

112. The Last Trumpet. Indian ink. 

An angel in the upper mid-pane of the design is blowing the 
trumpet, the tube of which comes forward in a conspicuous way. 
Souls, chiefly of women and children, are rising from the earth, 
and received by angels. A moderately good design, having no 
salient qualities of execution. 


113. *The Last Judgment also named The Fall of Man. [Butts.] 

Red and white chalks, slightly coloured. 

A composition of many figures, with Adam and Eve kneeling 
before the throne of the Judge. Carefully finished. Resembling 
in general character the Judgment in Blair's ' Grave/ but not 
identical with it perhaps finer ; seems to be a later and still 
more elaborate study for the same subject. 

114. The Last Judgment. Red and white chalks, slightly coloured. 

The Saviour stands between Adam and Eve, near the centre 
of the composition, holding a hand of each. In other respects, 
the same remarks apply as to the preceding. 

115. *The same. [Butts.] Indian ink. 

May be classed with the two preceding Nos., being in like 
manner related to the Last Judgment in Blair's ' Grave.' (See 
also Nos. 24, 25.) Contains an amazing number of figures, 
singularly refined. Few works of Blake could contend with 
this for elaboration and evenness of excellence. 

1 1 6. *Angels conducting the Souls of ?the Just to Paradise. 

Indian ink. 

Fine, especially in its solemn freedom of motion and of 
dispersed arrangement in the figures. Much injured, however, 
by a very prominent, ill-drawn, outstretched arm. 

117. Angels the chief one holding an open book. Indian ink. 

At the back of No. 122. 

1 1 8. *The Soul entering Eternity. Indian ink. 

The composition exhibits a maiden entering a door, guarded 
by two spiritual women. Fine in its solemn, mystic air. 


119. The Wreck of the White Ship. Indian ink. 

The subject appears to be the famous historical incident of the 
loss of the ship wherein the son of Henry I. was returning from 
Normandy to England. An energetic and impressive compo- 
sition, which has been autotyped. This is ascribed to Blake, 
and with considerable plausibility, though not certainty : it must 
belong to his earlier years. 

120. *Hector and Andromache (?) Pen and ink. 

This is a classic or heroic attempt, evidently an early one, and 
poor : the title, ' Hector and Andromache,' may serve to suggest 
the kind of subject, but is not probably the correct one. 

121. *An ideal Composition, illustrative of Spenser (?). Indian ink. 

A figure, bearing some resemblance to Spenser and holding a 
book, appears at the summit of some steps, along with two old 
men. A youth ascends the steps to receive another book from 
the old man to the left. Below are two women, with harp and 
book. Not a good design. 

122. *An illustration to Spenser (?). Indian ink. 

Looks like a companion design to the preceding. The subject 
is a naked man holding a sapling, and approaching five women 
with musical instruments, amid trees. Tolerable. 


123. Hamlet administering the Oath to his friends (?). An Incanta- 

tion (?). 

Two on the same bit of paper. Slight sketches of an Ossianic, 
or Fuseli-like, tendency. Poor as far as they go. 

124. Lady Macbeth approaching the sleeping Duncan. Indian ink. 

Not carried far beyond the outline. Ordinary. 

125. Caliban. Pencil sketch. 

126. Christian in the Valley of the Shadow of Death Pilgrim's 

Progress (?). Indian ink. 

Erinnys-like demons beset him : an angel ushers him onward. 

127. Death shaking the dart. Milton. 

128. Satan, Sin, and Death. Slightly touched with colour in the 


A fine example though only half executed ; the drawing rigid, 
but very terse and energetic. 

129. Adam and Eve recumbent, hovered over by Angels. 

A sketch which may have been preparatory to No. 90 e. List i. 
The style, comparatively florid and wanting in repose, gives the 
design some general resemblance to the manner of David Scott. 

130. Young burying Narcissa (?). 

' With pious sacrilege a grave I stole, 

. . . and muffled deep 
In midnight darkness whispered my last sigh/ 

Night Thoughts, Night 3. 
Indian ink. 

Powerful in broad effect and still more so in feeling. A lantern 
gives bright partial light amid the darkness. Young holds the 
prayer-book, from which he is repeating the burial-service, on his 
knees. His head is less made out than those of a boy and girl 
who gaze into the grave with wondrous intensity of expression. 
If the subject is the one surmised from Young, the introduction 
of these two children seems to be Blake's own addition to the 

131. Capaneus, from Dante (?). 

The group presents three men in energetic protest or enforced 
subjection. Probably three of the sufferers in Dante's ( Hell of 
the Blasphemers.' Quite different from No. 123 y and #, List i. 

132. The same (?). 

Another different design ; the actions grand. Four figures, 
slightly executed. The writhing hair of the figure who appears 
to be Capaneus presents a crown-like aspect. 

133. Portrait of Mrs. Blake. 

A pencil sketch, given in Vol. I., see List of Illustrations. 

134. Three bowed figures worshipping the sun. 

A sketch. 


135. ' For Children : the Gates of Hell.' 

A slight sketch so inscribed, forming a frontispiece. It is dark 
midnight, with a figure entering a door. 

136. The Death of an Infant. 

A small drawing, found among Stothard's prints. The mother 
is kneeling by the cradle : the infantine soul is being carried by 
an angel to cherubs above. 

137. Beauty. 

A sketch for a work afterwards executed. 

138. Sketch for a Funeral Card. Chalk. 

139. Apis (?). 

A kneeling figure of a man with a bull's head ; looks rather as 
if done from a 'vision' possibly a man born under the sign 
Taurus ? Excellent. 

140. Archimedes. 

141. *' And Pity, like a naked, new-born babe,' &c. 

A sketch for No. 248, List i, though differing considerably 
from it in the details. Moderately good. 

142. An Aged Man, with two crouching Women, exorcising three 

Demoniac Figures. 

The ' three demoniac figures ' recall strongly the trio engraved 
by Blake as ' The Accusers of Theft, Adultery, and Murder' (see 
p. 304, Vol. I., and No. 259, List i). The other main group is 
nearly the same as in the ' Europe/ p. 7. Fine. 

143. A Naked Man, seated on the ground. 

Seems to be an academy study. 

144. A Dying Man crouching, with floating figures. 


145. *An Angel taking a huge stride in the air. 

Has the energetic movement which Blake was wont to impart 
to such figures, but is not a particularly good example. 

146. Newton. 

A grand figure, quietly, but carefully designed. See List i, 
No. 24, which this design corresponds to. 

147. Wren. 

Evidently intended for Wren, the Dome of St. Paul's being 
sketched in the distance. Resembles the Newton (146) in general 
arrangement. His hands trail along the ground. 

148. The same. 

On the back of the preceding. Here the hands are up to the 
chin, expressing great tension of mind in a forcible manner. 

149. A Man tormented by a huge Serpent. 

The general conception recalls Prometheus. A woman is 
looking on. Fair. 


150. Water Deities and Nymphs. 

Sketched in a rather florid style. 

151. A Squatted Devil, with young horns. 

The face is somewhat of the Satyr type. Ordinarily good. 

152. Queen Mab (?). 

A dreamer visited by a fairy. Slight. 

153. Clouds personified. 

The intention appears unmistakeable, though the drawing is 
not carried far enough to express it completely. Curious and 

154. *Laocoon. Slightly touched with colour. 

Laocoon (a robed figure), and his two sons, are all standing, 
agonized under the attack of the serpents. There is no direct 
resemblance to the celebrated sculptural Laocoon, yet some 
analogy to it may be traced. Scribbly in execution, and only 

155. A Human-limbed Elephant, dandling a similar Infant Elephant 

on his foot. 

A most quaint and amusing sketch, probably a vision. 

156. A Space of Sea, with a Rainbow. Indian ink. 

Very noble, full of unstrained power, and conveying, in the 
slightest form, a great sense of space and movement on a majestic 
scale. . Drawn on the back of the preceding. 

157. *Five Designs to 'the Book of Enoch.' [Linnell.] 

Slight in execution, and as intangible for description as the 
average of the designs for the Prophetic Books. A miscellany 
of naked figures in conditions that one does not accurately 

158. *A Pastoral Wooing Jacob and Laban (?). Indian ink. 

The young shepherd, kneeling, pleads his suit to the father 
and mother of his shepherdess, who stands coyly aside : the 
parents are seated under a tree. An agreeable bit of old- 
fashioned Corydonism. 

159. A Pastoral. Indian ink. 

Two aged shepherds, one of them holding a Pan's pipe : milk- 
ing, spinning, and other rural and household occupations, are 
going on. A well-conceived pastoral subject. 

1 60. A King Praying. [Linnell.] 

He has a hideous face, with shark-like teeth, and other repul- 
sive details. Might possibly be a ' vision ' of the King in 
1 Hamlet,' in the praying scene ? 

1 6 1. Visiting the Sick. Indian ink. 

A woman, holding a purse and a vase, is crossing the threshold 
of a cottage, in which an old man has just expired. Another 
woman by the bedside, and a girl, form the family. Not 
carried far. 


162. The Mourners. Indian ink. 

Four women, seated at the foot of a flight of steps, two of them 
having their faces hidden. Fine in grouping and expression, and 
graceful as well. 

163. *An Allegory of Human Life. [Butts.] Indian ink. 

A different composition, and to a considerable extent a dif- 
ferent idea, from No. 23, though there is probably some relation 
between the two. There also a tree, which may be the Tree of 
Life, is introduced. There are a great number of figures, highly 
finished, representing various aspects of the soul and of life. 
The whole may be compared to a glorified Masonic broadsheet. 

164. A Drawing of nine Grotesque or Demoniac Heads. [Linnell.] 

An early, finished drawing. The heads are of different types, 
showing singular or monstrous physiognomies, some having a 
quasi-demoniac aspect. Inscribed by Blake f All genius varies 
thus : devils are various, angels are all alike.' 

165. Two Figures, with the Sun (or full Moon) to the left. 

A sketch of fair merit, not easy to describe ; the sort of design 
that one finds in Blake's Prophetic Books. 

1 6 6. Egypt. 

A naked, standing, male figure, so inscribed. There is a 
quantity of accessory matter, very slight and scratchy, and 
practically undecipherable. 

167. A Naked Male Figure, seated on a Cloud. 

Noticeable for the outrt turning-out of the right leg, extended 
in a position which ought to be one of rest. Fair. 

1 68. The Human Soul. 

A male figure bursting out of a sphere, a good deal like the 
figure named ' Earth ' in the ' Gates of Paradise.' Below is 
sketched in, very slightly, what looks like a curtained entrance 
guarded by an angel. Curious. 

169. A Female Torso. 

Looks not unlike an Academy study. Besides the female 
torso, there is another something, which is either a male torso 
of the most rugged and rocky contours, or an actual mass of 

170. A Titanic Deity, with some smaller figures. 

A small, narrow drawing, of good quality in the character 
of the Prophetic Book designs. 

171. An Allegorical Design, with a Dome like that of St. Paul's. 

Neatly sketched. The title of this design is subscribed, and 
looks more like ' Theotormon Worm ' than anything else. 

172. A Girl standing before two bowed seated figures. 

Looks like a design for a Prophetic Book. Slight. 

173. A Crowned Man shooting an Arrow. 

Might also be a design for a Prophetic Book. Above the 
shooter (who either is actually crowned, or else has rayed hair) 


is an ancient, spectral-looking man with dispread arms and 
screeching mouth. Slight, but vigorous. 

174. A Man supporting a Swooning Woman. 

A sketch of smallish size, good in action. 

175. A Crowd, with a Boy beating a Drum. 

Very imperfectly made out. 

176. Fate. See No. 27 n. 

177. Nude Studies: Two Men throwing Somersaults, &c. 

The two figures specified are drawn with great care and com- 
pleteness ; both of them in difficult positions, and one arched 
right over, at the moment that his toes touch the ground again, 
in a most daring action, quite a curiosity. The other studies are 
a carefully-drawn leg ; a less satisfactory prostrate figure ; and, 
on the back of the page (among others), a vigorously-designed 
male figure, kneeling and bending forward, with the hands up to 
the back of the head. 

178. Pity and other Personifications (one sheet of paper, front and 


Also drawn in an accurate, firm, terse style. ' Pity ' is on a 
tolerably large scale, a woman bending down to succour a man 
stretched out at length, as if given over to death. On a smaller 
scale are embodied Doubt, Dissipation, Weariness, Luxury, 
Idleness, Gratitude, Indolence, Rage, Despair, Deceit, Discon- 
tent, Joy, Avarice, Listlessness, Study, Cruelty, Distress, Severity, 
Oppression, Misery, Mischief, and Protection ; each (except, 
perhaps, Distress), in a single figure, mostly nude. 

179. A Deathbed. 

On the back of the 'Pity' : fine, and characteristic of Blake's 
style. A naked woman, her head bowed on the pillow and 
hidden by her outstretched arm, kneels passionately weeping 
over her youthful husband, whose face has just set into the 
rigidity of death. 

1 80. Searching among the Dead on a Battlefield. 

Two entirely distinct designs, one on the back of the other. 
There is great expression of the subject in one where a dead 
horse's head appears in the foreground, and a conflagration in 
the background ; though of the two very rough sketches, this i s 
the rougher. 

181. A Man approaching a recumbent Woman. 

Slovenly, with no point of merit save the freedom of action. 

182. Tyranny Enthroned (?). 

In some respects, this suggests the Miltonic subject of Satan 
giving birth to Sin, though that does not seem to be the exact 
idea. There are several figures, with plenty of action ; expressive, 
though quite slight. 

183. ' In maiden meditation, fancy free.' 

A slight pencil-drawing, with figures in the air round . a girl 
who is reading as she walks. Slight, and of a conventional 


tendency. The general feeling of the subject seems to be such 
as would be conveyed by the motto above suggested. 

184. A Death-chamber. 

A vigorous pencil-sketch, large in style. A naked man in the 
foreground appears to have died a violent death, to judge from 
his wrenched position. A woman, sideways behind him, crouches 
in an agonised heap : three figures are beside her, floating 
apparently, just above the ground. One might suppose it to be 
Patroclus, Achilles, and Thetis with her nymphs, but that the 
Achilles is a woman. 

185. A SET OF TWELVE DRAWINGS from Blake's poem, 'Tiriel.' 

Indian ink. 

This is a puzzling series evidently a series; often very fine in 
invention and composition. There is a sort of rational, con- 
secutive look about the subjects, which disposes one to believe 
that they illustrate some known story, rather than any invention 
of Blake's own : some of them, however, might do for his un- 
published poem, "Tiriel,' a piece of erratic Ossianism. Others 
suggest Ruth, Lot, (Edipus, Lear, Priam ; but one fails in 
attempting to carry any of these histories on through the whole 
series . I follow the order of subjects as in the Sale-catalogue, 
modifying some of the titles there given, with the view of bring- 
ing out the subjects more distinctly. 

(a) Tiriel supporting the swooning Myratana, and addressing 
his Sons. 

Good. A pyramid is introduced in this design. 

(b) Har, Heva, and Mnetha. 

A fine, careful drawing, very individual. Mnetha, whose back 
is turned, is robed in a richly-patterned dress, unusual with 

(<r) Har asleep, with Heva and Mnetha. 

Fine. Here the patterned dress disappears, but a patterned 
quilt comes as a substitute. 

(d) Har and Heva bathing Mnetha behind. 

A wonderful design, excellent in the tone and depth obtained 
with simple execution. 

(e) Har and Heva, playing Harps. 

(/) Har and Tiriel Heva and Mnetha. 

Also fine and careful ; the glimpse of thin tree-stems through 
a door very elegant. 

(g) Tiriel upheld on the shoulders of Ijim, his Daughters 

A very grand, inventive design ; the work of an artist having 
some affinity to Flaxman, but more imaginative. 

(h) Tiriel cursing his Sons and Daughters. 

Excellently designed and composed. 
(/) The Death of Tiriel's Sons. 

Not quite finished ; Blake-like and mysterious. 


(/) Tiriel and Hela. 

Poor in touch, the handling being certainly not wholly that 
of Blake. 

(k) Har, Tiriel, and Hela. 

Tiriel is not one of Blake's finer figures, but more in the manner 
of Westall. Less good than others, yet meritorious. 

(/) Hela contemplating Tiriel dead in a Vineyard. 

Fine. The vines, in lithe, tall ranks, are managed with a true 
sense of the clear, tempered shadow among thick leafage. 

1 86. A Conversation. Pen and ink sketch. 

187. The Finding of the Body of Harold. Along with the Noli 

Me Tangere, No. 105. 

1 88. Death. Pencil sketch. 

189. Time. 

190. A Life-study. 

191. A Shepherd with his Dog : also another Figure. (Framed 


LIST No. 3. 


(Whether Coloured or Uncoloured^) 


Indicates that the Wdrk is more probably coloured. 


1. 1793. ' Does thy God, O Priest, take such vengeance as this? 

design for the ' Gates of Paradise.' 

2. *He rode upon the Cherubim. [Butts.] 

3. The Departure of Lot. 

4. *Jacob and his Twelve Sons. [Butts.] 

5. Samuel. [Butts.] 

6. *The Waters of Babylon. [Butts.] 

7. *The Nativity. [Butts.] 

8. The Circumcision. [Butts.] 

9. Christ and His Disciples. [Butts.] 

10. *The Beheading of John the Baptist. [Butts.] 

n. *The Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes. [Butts.] 

12. Christ before Pilate. [Butts.] 

13. *Satan in his former Glory. [Butts.] 

14. Christ and the Church. [Butts.] 

15. *Christ and a Heavenly Choir. [Butts.] 


>j 1 6. *One hundred and eighteen Designs to Gray's Poems. [The 
Duke of Hamilton.] 

Reputed to be among the very finest works executed by Blake. 

T 2 


17. 'I have sat down with the worm.' 

Probably the same design as in the ' Gates of Paradise,' and reported 
to be fine. 

1 8. A Dream of Death. 

19. The Genius of Morning. 

20. Portraits of the Actors Cooke and Kemble. [Butts.] 

[After this Annotated Catalogue had been re-compiled as revised, a 
few further Blake designs turned up in the sale-catalogues of Mr. George 
Smith of Paddockhurst (Christie and Co., April and July, 1880), and in the 
catalogue of a Blake Exhibition held in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 
America. Partly for convenience' sake, and partly on the ground that 
the new items may perhaps, in some instances, be identical with some of 
the numbered items in the Annotated Catalogue, these new ones have 
not been embodied therein, but are here given in a separate list. The 
few descriptive details are supplied from a letter written by an American 


1. Portrait of Thos. Hayley by Blake, in sepia : bound in a volume 

containing 103 of Blake's own engravings and an Index to 
the Songs of Innocence and Experience in his Autograph. See 
No. 54, List I. 

JULY, 1880. 

2. Transformation of the Thieves, from Dante. Pencil sketch. 

3. Two sketches in pencil. 

4. Ditto Sir Christopher Wren and a male figure. 

5. A Frieze of figures. Coloured. 

6. Death. Sketch in pencil. 

7. Sketch, similar in subject to The Soul visiting the Recesses of the 

Tomb in Blair's Grave. Indian Ink. 

8. Newton. Pencil sketch. Fine. 


The omitted items are designs certainly given in the preceding 


The names of the owners are given. The numbers are those in the 
Boston Catalogue.} 

8. Colour Sketch of the Death of the Good Old Man, from Blair's 
Grave. Water colour. [R. C. Waterston.] 


[The following 22 designs all lent to the Exhibition by Mrs. Hooper 
are in water colour : size about 8 ins. by 10, tints vivid.] 

58. Children and Sheep, brilliant sky, greensward under the children, 

and Iambs. 

59. Body surrounded by and borne up on Flames. 

60. Descent into Hell. Flames, two male figures, lurid sky. 

6 1. Man raising himself from a cleft in the earth. 

63. Three Nude Figures, one standing, two reclining ; shadows very 


64. A Young Man with arms raised two children in background. 

65. Woman leading forward a Group of Children, rocks on each 

side. [The bottom group in the Descent to the Tomb, Blair's 

66. Female Figure. 

67. Ditto. 

68. Group of three Female Figures in Clouds. 

69. Group of six Female Figures, all in page 81 of the Jerusalem, 

of which they appear to be the original conception, being 
on old yellow paper. 

72. Swan bearing a Man through the Air. (From the America?) 

73. Death's Door. 

74. Two Female Figures kneeling. 

75. Man meditating ; two small figures hovering near [smaller in 

size than the others]. 

76. Resurrection. Figure sitting on a skeleton, apparently the first 

thought for the upper figure in Death's Door, more full face. 

77. Christ and the Dead ; flames behind the dead figure in black. 

78. Female figure kneeling on greensward, kissing a child. 

79. Spirit of the Sea emerging from a wave hovers over a bowed 

and disconsolate figure beside the rocks. 

80. Three Figures sitting by the Sea. 

81. Three Figures seated under Trees; trees and landscape in 

brown outline, figures coloured. 

120. The Parent's Blessing. Water colour. [H. E. Scudder.] 

121. Figures ascending ; sketch of family on the left side of Last 

Judgment in Blair's Grave. 

1 2 7, 1 Two water-colour studies for the Descent of Man into the Vale of 
128.! Death. Blair's Grave. [R. C. Waterston.] 

2 7 8 


THE subjoined is a Debtor and Creditor Account between Blake 
and Mr. Butts, which, as an authentic record of the scale of prices 
received by the artist, and also as fixing the date of production of 
some of his most remarkable works, deserves insertion here : 


May 12, 1805. s. d. 

Due on Account ...... 040 

12 Drawings, viz. 
i. Famine. 2. War. 3. Moses 
striking the Rock. 4. Ezekiel's 
Wheels. 5. Christ girding Him- 
self with Strength; 6. Four- 
and-twenty Elders. 7. Christ 
baptizing. 8. Samson breaking 
his Bonds. 9. Samson subdued. 
10. Noah and Rainbow. n. 
Wise and Foolish Virgins. 12. 
"Hell beneath is moved for 
thee," &c. from Isaiah . . . 12 12 o 

5 July. 4 Prints, viz. 

i. Good and Evil Angel. 2. House 

of Death. 3. God judging Adam. 

4. Lamech 

4 Nos. of Hayley's Ballads 

7 Sept. 4 Prints, viz. 

i. Nebuchadnezzar. 2. Newton. 
3. God creating Adam. 4. 
Christ appearing ..... 44 

Dec. 12 

Touching up Christ baptizing . . i i 

Drawings, &c. sent from Felpham 14 14 
Urizen, Heaven, &c. and Songs 

of Experience, for Balance . . o 10 

3 Hayley's Ballads, per Brother . 07 

3 Ditto, Mr. Birch ...... 07 

4 Ditto ........ o 10 

History of Master Malkin ... o 10 

Dec. 25, 1805. 

On account o teaching your son, 
at 25 Guineas per annum, to 
commence on this day ... 26 5 o 

i 66 o o 

o 10 o 

Jan. 12. 
By Cash 


*. d. 

12 12 O 

5 July. 
By ditto 

7 Sept. 
By ditto 



Balance due from me [i.e. Mr. 
Butts] previous to my going to 
Felpham 14 10 

By Coals, to 5 Oct. 1805 

Balance paid to Mr. Blake . 

12 19 o 

16 7 4 

66 o o 


[The following Lists, especially the Second, do not, of course, pretend to com- 
pleteness. Size is given when it could be ascertained, except in cases where it 
has been already specified, according to reference.] 



King Edward and Queen Eleanor. 1779. See p. 207. 

List I. No. 2. Vol. II .............. 31 

Morning, or Glad Day. 10 x 7^ in. 1780. . '. , . . 28,32 
Mary Wollstonecraft's Tales for Childrejt. 8vo. Six Plates. 

i79i ................... 89 

Nine Plates to Gay's Fables. 8vo. Published by Stock dale. 

'7^ .................. 

Ezekiel : 'Take away from thee the desire of thine eyes.' 

19 X 14 in. 1794 .............. 133 

Job : ' What is man, that Thou shouldst try him every 

moment? '1794 . ............. 133 

Illustrations to Young's Night Thoughts. Folio. 1797. 135 140 
Little Tom the Sailor. Hayley's Broadsheet. 1800. 

i8J x 7! in .............. \ 153 155 

(An instance of the process Blake calls 'wood-cutting on 


The Weather House and Cowper's Tame Hares. Vignettes 
for Hayley's Life of Cowper. 1803 ........ 171 

Nine Plates to Hayley's Ballads. 4to. 1805 ..... 176 8 

Ditto, reduced, for the i2mo. edition . , .' x ^ .*',, . . ..." 224 

The Canterbury Pilgrims. 1817 . . . Y ^ t>f , . 250 274 280 
Small Plate altered from the same for Frontispiece. 8vo. 291 2 
The Accusers of Theft, Adultery, Murder. A Scene in the 
Last Judgment. Satan's Holy Trinity. The Accuser, the 
Judge, and the Executioner. The first title inscribed on 
the background, over the heads of the figures. Very power- 
ful and terrible. 9 x 5 in. '". . . . . . ... . 304 


VOL. I. 

Moses 'laid in the flags by the river's brink.' Small Engraving, 
of exquisite delicacy and finish. The figure of the mother, 
fainting and falling back from the little ark, is very beautiful. 
In the background are pyramids, a sphinx, and river wind- 
ing down the land a grand yet sweet ideal of Ancient 
Egypt. 4 x 3 in- 
Drowned figures, Man and Woman, lying on rocks by the sea. 
Enormous eagles soaring above. Engraved after the fashion 
of ' wood-cutting on metal.' Very fine. 5^ x 4^ in. 

Adam and Eve. Subject looking at first like the Finding the 
Body of Abel. Adam and Eve stand in impassioned sor- 
row over a youthful figure not dead, however, but manacled 
by the wrists and ankles to the rocky ground who turns 
his eyes upon them. A sort of St. Peter's Dome appears in 
the distance. The design is probably intended for a pro- 
phetic symbol of the Atonement. The heads of Adam and 
Eve are each encircled by a nimbus. On the background 
is inscribed, 'Type by W. Blake, 1817.' Very similar to 
the headpiece of the America. 4^ X 3 in. 

Group of Figures on the edge of a rock by the sea, gazing, as 
appears, on some awful or supernatural spectacle in the 
clouds and waters ; roughly etched, in the same method as 
the preceding. A most impressive, indeed appallingly sug- 
gestive composition. ii^xSJin 58 

Figure, with a glory, standing before a rising or setting sun or 

Mirth and her attendant Spirits. Milton's Allegro. Engraved 
from the first Design of the series for the Allegro and Pen- 
seroso. Rather small. P. 246, List I. No. 231 A, Vol. II. . 

Death's Door. For the Grave 269 

Sacred to Simplicity. Female Figure placing a scroll on a 

Four Male Figures. 

A Man kneeling. Angels and Demons behind. 

Etchings. Subjects from Shakespeare. (Sold at T. H. Burke's 
Sale, Christie's, June 2ist, 1852.) 

Seventeen Woodcuts to Thornton's Virgil. 1820 . . . 317 20 

Sweeping the Interpreter's House, from the Pilgrim's Progress. 
The man who sweeps the parlour is here a demon-like figure, 
with strong spiny wings, and the dust he raises is filled with 
numerous insect-like spirits. A graceful angelic figure brings 


VOL. I. 

the water in a bowl. Example of Blake's ' wood-cutting on 
copper,' very painter-like in treatment and effect ; of signal 
richness and beauty. 

Inventions to the Book of Job. Folio. 1826 328 36 

Mr. Cumberland's Card-plate. 1827 399 

Dante. Seven Plates. Small folio. 1824 1827 . . . 373 8 


Joseph of Arimathea among the Rocks of Albion. 10x5^ in. 
1773. Broad, effective Engraving; trembling sunlight on 

the sea well rendered . . . ' 4 ;v.r.v. : 19 

Sundry Plates, in the Memoirs of Hollis, in Cough's Monu- 
ments, &c. 19, 20 

Asia and Africa. After Stothard. Frontispiece to a System of 

Geography. 1779 323 

Novelist's Magazine, 1779 1782. Eight Plates after Stothard 32 3 
Don Quixote. PI. 7. The Decision of the Doubts con- 
cerning Mambrino's Helmet. 

Ditto, PI. 1 6. The Peaceful Death of Don Quixote. 
Sentimental Journey. PI. 2. The Dance of the Peasants. 
David Simple. PI. 2. David pays the Landlady, and 

relieves the Distresses of Valentine and Camilla. 
Launcelot Greaves. PI. 2. Sir Launcelot enjoying the 

humours of a General Election. 

Sir Charles Grandison. PI. 8. Miss Byron visiting Miss 
Emily Jervpise. 

PI. 9. Duel in Parlour. 
PI. 12. Grandison's Interview with 
Clementina and her Mother. 
Clarence's Dream. For Enfield's Speaker. Pub. by Johnson. 

After Stothard. 1780 33 

Scott of Amwell's Poems. Four Plates. After Stothard. Pub. 

by Buckland. 1782 51 

Lady's Pocket-Book. Two Plates. After Stothard. 1782 or 

1783 51 

Ritson's English Songs. Nineteen Plates, about half of them 
engraved by Blake. Stothard. Pub. by Johnson. 1783 .51 2 

The Fall of Rosamond. Stothard. Circular. 12 in. Pub. 
by Macklin. 1783 . . . ..'..* .,*"... . 51 


4 VOL. I. 

Zephyrus and Flora : Calisto. Stothard. Two oval Plates. 

8 x 7 in. Pub. by Parker and Blake. 1784 56 

The Wit's Magazine. Pub. by Harrison. 1784. Five Plates. 53 54 

Small Plate for Bonnycastle's Mensuration. Stothard. 

Battle of Ain for Maynard's Josephus. Stothard. 

Frontispiece to Lavater's Aphorisms. 8vo. Fuseli. 1788 . 61 

Scene from the Beggars 1 Opera. Hogarth. Pub. by Boydell. 

1788. Large, finely-executed Plate. 
Democritus. Rubens. For Lavater's Physiognomy. Also for the 

same a Vignette of a Hand and Arm holding a Taper. 4to. 1789. 
Satan. Stothard. Small circular Plate, apparently for Bell's 

Poets, but not used to illustrate Milton. 
Stothard and Friends Prisoners during a Boating Excursion. 

Stothard and Blake. 

Elements of Morality. Fifty Plates. After Chodowiecki. 8vo. 1791. 91 
Hoole's Ariosto. The second of two Plates. Stothard. Pub. 

by Dodsley. 1791. 
The Fertilisation of Egypt. Fuseli. For Darwin's Botanic 

Garden. 4to. Johnson. 1791. A good Engraving, softer 

in style and effect than usual 91 

Flaxman's Outlines to the Odyssey. 1793 in 

Steadman's Surinam. Fourteen Plates. Pub. byjohnson. 1796. 232-3 

Alfred in the Neatherd's Cottage \ 

Wat Tyler and the Tax-gatherer. / Engraved for Johnson, 

King John absolved. f X 797- 

Queen Elizabeth and Essex. 

Death of Lucretia. "\ 

Death of Cleopatra. ( 

CaiusMarius. f Ditto > Z 797- 

Mars and Rhea Sylvia. J 

Frontispiece to Flaxman's Letter, representing the colossal 

statue proposed to be erected on Greenwich Hill. 4to. 1 799. 141 
Portrait of Lavater, published by Johnson. 1800. ' From a 

Drawing in the possession of the Publisher, taken in 1787.' 

A superb and masterly example. As an Engraver merely, 

Blake ranks high, on the strength of this Plate alone. The 

lines of the face are especially noteworthy for their skilful 

play, firmness and delicacy. 

Figure of Michael Angelo, for Fuseli's Lectures. 8vo. i8or. 161 
Six Plates, from designs for the Triumphs of Temper, by Maria 

Flaxman. 8vo. 1803 .tflM^ . 189 


VOL. I. 

Portrait of Cowper, after Romney . ^ 

Ditto after Lawrence . (For Hayley's Life of 

Portrait of Cowper's Mother. After j Cowper. 1803. . 170-1 

Heins. ) 

Cowper's Monument in East Dereham Church. Chancel of 

East Dereham Church. F. Stone. 1804 189 

{Part of a series to 
illustrate Shakes- 
peare. Pub. by 
Rivington. 1804. 

Portrait of Romney ; . 213,218 

The Shipwreck. Romney. For Hayley's Life of Romney. 1809. 213-16 
Head of a Man in Fire. Fuseli. Life size. Vigorously and 

grandly engraved. 

The Idle Laundress. ") Morland. Square. Pub. by J. 

The Industrious Cottager. J R. Smith. 
Subject apparently from the Scandinavian Mythology (Thor 

battering the Serpent [?]). Fuseli. Forcibly executed Plate. 

9 x 7j in. 
Plates for Rees' Encyclopedia, illustrative of the Articles 

'Armour' and 'Sculpture.' 1815-16 . . . . . . . 297 

Cumberland's Thoughts on Outline. Eight Plates. 

Flaxman's Hesiod. Thirty-seven Plates. 1817 296 

Portrait of Wilson Lowry. Drawn by Linnell. Engraved by 

Linnell and Blake 375 

Head of Euler. 

Head of Cornelius Nepos. 

Head of Catullus. 

Demosthenes 143 

Pericles 144 

Burger's Lenore. Translated by J. T. Stanley. 4to. 1796. 134 5 
Blair's Grave. 410. 1808 .- ,* ' ;. <. . . 200-207, 246-50. 


[Of these all are engraved, not type-printed, and embellished with 
designs as described in the Life, except those marked with an 
asterisk, which are printed in the ordinary manner, and unillustrated.] 


PP. PP. 

^Poetical Sketches. 8vo. 1783 . 23-26 1-25 

Songs of Innocence. 8vo. 1789 . 70-75,408,418-19 29-50 
BookofThel. 4to. 1789 . .'\. 76-78 77-83 


Marriage of Heaven and Hell. 4 to. V p. L v 5p. n ' 

1790 V" 67, 78-89 

*The French Revolution. 8vo. 

Book the First. 1791 ...> 89 

The Gates of Paradise. i2mo. 1793 99-102 
Visions of the Daughters of Albion. 

Folio. 1793 : 102-106 

America: a Prophecy. Folio. 1793 106-110 

Songs of Experience. 8vo. 1794. 116-123,418 51-76 

Europe : a Prophecy. Folio. 1794 124-27 

The Book of Urizen. 4to. 1794. 127,128,419 

The Song of Los. 4to. 1795 . . 129-31, 419 

The Book of Ahania. 4to. 1795 . i3 I - I 33 

Jerusalem. 4to. 1804 .... 185, 187, 189, 226-240 

Milton. 4to. 1804 240-45 

^Descriptive Catalogue. 8vo. 1809 31, 274-76 137-63 
The Laocoon 1 

The Ghost of Abel. I ( 197-200 

On Homer's Poetry. Slb y llme Leaves ^ \ 179-180 
On Virgil. J 

There is no Natural Religion. Eight (?) Small Leaves, each 
containing a thesis on this favourite dogma of Blake's, 
accompanied by a slight coloured design. 

In a List of Works by Blake, offered for sale by his widow, to Mr. 
Ferguson (p. 410, Vol. i), occurs the following item : 

Outhoun. 12 Plates, 6 inches, more or less. Price 2 2s. o. 

[I have never seen a copy of this, nor been able to find any one who 
has. Even Mr. Linnell had never heard of it. But the above must be 
taken, I think, as indisputable evidence that such a book does or 
did exist. An ingenious friend suggested that ' Outhoun ' might be 
another title for the Visions of the Daughters of Albion, in which one 
Oothoon plays a prominent part. But the number of plates in the two 
not corresponding decisively negatives such a supposition.] 

Tiriel, first printed in the Aldine edition of the British Poets : 
William Blake. Edited by William Michael Rossetti. 1874. 

Poems gleaned from the MS. Note-book belonging to Mr. 
Rossetti ; printed for the first time in this work : 
Ideas of Good and Evil, pp. 85-128 Vol. II. 
Couplets and Fragments, pp. 129-134 Vol. II._ 

Prose from the same source : 

Public Address, pp. 164-177 Vol. II. 

A Vision of the Last Judgment, 185-200 Vol. II. 


[The following is a copy of a characteristic Prospectus issued by 
Blake, in 1793. The original is in engraved writing printed in blue 
on a single leaf about 11x7^ inches. Of course it has become 
excessively rare, the specimen here described having been obtained 
only at the last moment, through perseveringly kind efforts on the 
part of Mr. Frost, A.R.A.] 

October 10, 1793. 
To the Public. 

The Labours of the Artist, the Poet, the Musician, have been 
proverbially attended by poverty and obscurity ; this was never the 
fault of the Public, but was owing to a neglect of means to propagate 
such works as have wholly absorbed the Man of Genius. Even 
Milton and Shakespeare could not publish their own works. 

This difficulty has been obviated by the Author of the following 
productions now presented to the Public; who has invented a 
method of Printing both Letter-press and Engraving in a style more 
ornamental, uniform, and grand, than any before discovered, while it 
produces works at less than one- fourth of the expense. 

If a method of Printing which combines the Painter and the 
Poet is a phenomenon worthy of public attention, provided that it 
exceeds in elegance all former methods, the Author is sure of his 

Mr. Blake's powers of invention very early engaged the attention 
of many persons of eminence and fortune ; by whose means he has 
been regularly enabled to bring before the Public works (he is not 
afraid to say) of equal magnitude and consequence with the produc- 
tions of any age or country : among which are two large highly finished 
engravings (and two more are nearly ready) which will commence a 
Series of subjects from the Bible, and another from the History of 

The following are the Subjects of the several Works now pub- 
lished and on Sale at Mr. Blake's, No. 13, Hercules Buildings, 

1. Job, a Historical Engraving. Size i ft. y in. by i ft. 2 in.: 

price i2s. 

2. Edward and Elinor, a Historical Engraving. Size i ft. 6J in. 

by i ft. : price IQS. 6d. 


3. America, a Prophecy, in Illuminated Printing. Folio, with 18 

designs, price ics. 6d. 

4. Visions of the Daughters of Albion, in Illuminated Printing. 

Folio, with 8 designs, price js. 6d. 

5. The Book of Thel, a Poem in Illuminated Printing. Quarto, 

with 6 designs, price 3*. 

6. The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, in Illuminated Printing. 

Quarto, with fourteen designs, price js. 6d. 

7. Songs of Innocence, in Illuminated Printing. Octavo, with 25 

designs, price 5$. 

8. Songs of Experience, in Illuminated Printing. Octavo, with 25 

designs, price $s. 

9. The History of England, a small book of Engravings. Price 35. 
10. The Gates of Paradise, a small book of Engravings. Price 35. 

The Illuminated Books are Printed in Colours, and on the most 
beautiful wove paper that could be procured. 

No Subscriptions for the numerous great works now in hand are 
asked, for none are wanted; but the Author will produce his works, 
and offer them to sale at a fair price. 





A FEW words are necessary on the history and constitution of the 
treasure books which, since the former issue of this 'Life of William 
Blake/ have passed into the hands of Mr. Bain, of the Haymarket. 

On opening the first volume we find inscribed the name of 
' Richard Edwards, of High Elms,' heretofore well known as the 
publisher of the incomplete edition of Young's t Night Thoughts ' with 
Blake's engraved illustrations : but, until the discovery of these two 
wondrous volumes, it was never suspected that the complete series of 
designs to the 'Nine Nights ' was executed by the artist, and bound 
up at the time, having been ever since carefully preserved in the 
publisher's family, resident in Yorkshire. 

Now to speak of the composition of the books, containing five 
hundred and thirty-seven designs. 

There was published in Parts or 'Nights/ between 1742-1745, 
a quarto edition of the ' Night Thoughts/ and a copy of the letter- 
press, 9 inches high by 6J wide, is inlaid, somewhat out of the centre, 
within a sheet of drawing-paper, measuring 17 by i2f inches. This 
(it all bears the watermark * J. Whatman, 1794') is again itself inlaid 
in a stronger edging of paper, bearing on its inner margin a ruled and 
tinted framework, which bounds and encloses the designs ; the whole 
page thus elaborately constituted measuring 21 by 16 inches. 

The space left between the inlaid text and the outer margin of the 
drawing-paper is, as before indicated, unequally distributed, being 
broad at the base and one side, and narrow at the top and opposite 
side. Filling these spaces, and covering both sides of the sheet, the 
designs are drawn with the brush in Indian ink, and then coloured, 
sometimes in pale tints only, sometimes with full depth and richness. 

At the beginning of each volume there is a frontispiece entirely 
filled with design, unbroken by text ; and each Night has, to its pages 



of Title and Preface, appropriate and suggestive inventions, besides 
those which illustrate the text of the poem. 

It remains now to pass to the description of so many of the in- 
ventions as it has been found expedient to select, premising that the 
irregular numbers prefixed to them follow the order in which, under 
some error, they have been arranged by the binder. 

The Frontispiece to the First Volume is the original design for 
that plate in the Engraved Edition, which, representing the Resurrec- 
tion of Christ, bears upon it the inscription ' The Christian Triumph.' 
Opposing this is the title-page, ' The Complaint, or Night Thoughts/ 
dated 1743 

Meditating . on life, death, and immortality, the holy Book 
open before him, a young man sits up in bed, a lamp by his side. 
Around him rise visions of his thoughts : Life, as a beautiful 
youth, standing with spade in hand over an open grave, wherein 
is seen the body of an aged man, whose immortal spirit, re- 
juvenated, springs joyfully heavenward through the Clouds of 

On the back of this is designed 

The night sky, jewelled with stars of varied hue, and among 
them, travelling over the hills and valleys of massy rolling clouds, 
a puny pilgrim man, staff in hand, pursues his marvelling search. 

No. 9. ' Night, sable Goddess ! from her ebon throne 

In rayless majesty, now stretches forth 
Her leaden sceptre o'er a slumbering world.' 

One seeming mass of dark and rolling cloud, out of which 
there emerges, gradually, to the searching gaze, a sombre globe, 
on which the Goddess Night bows her drowsy head veiled with 
its own long loose locks ; her leaden sceptre pendant in her right 
hand presses on the ' slumbering world.' The colour wonderful 
for imaginative impressiveness. 

17. * Oh how self- fettered was my grov'ling soul ! 

How like a worm was I wrapt round and round 
In silken thought, which reptile Fancy spun.' 
An old man, with long white beard, holds a mirror, fixedly 
engrossed with the contemplation of his own image. He is 
enveloped in a green covering, marked with segments like the 
body of a caterpillar, and lies curled within an earth-coloured 
circle, which figures our terrestrial planet. A chain surrounds 
this, by which it is hung from the blue celestial sphere, a section 
of which, with white stars, is seen above. An angel or spirit 
floats in mid air, with action expressive of amazement at the 
mortal's infatuation. 

28. Dead Joys. 

A mourner laments with bitter cry of bereavement the sudden 
death of two young joys, beautiful little figures, that lie, with 
stretched-out limbs, on the greensward. One tender Joy, 
yet left alive, uncheiished and unregarded, takes flight, like a 


white curling vapour across the sweet blue sky. Very beautiful 
in colour and design. 

29- ' Death .... 


The worm to riot on that rose so red.' 

A grand, ancient impersonation of Death, floating against a 
dark void of neutral grey, beckons on, with one hand, a worm 
moving in spiral curves, and with the other points to his latest 
victim, a beautiful maiden, who, her head pillowed on green 
leaves, and the flush of young life scarce flown, still looks like a 
living rose. 


As a female figure full of beauty the Soul is portrayed, leaping 
in poetic transport skyward from the earth, bearing a lyre ; but her 
light foot is shackled, and the chain, drawn tense by her ascent, 
suddenly drags her down from her soaring and ecstatic flight. 

Following the misplaced drawings in the first volume, the next 
which occurs to our selection is numbered 150, and should have 
found its place in the designs to the Eighth Night : 

150 Faith builds a bridge from this world to the next, 

O'er Death's dark gulf, and all its horror hides.' 
Though slightly indicated, the force of the rushing waters of 
the dark gulf which surge against the piers of the bridge is 
forcibly conveyed. They may rage, for its arches are of solid 
masonry; and Faith, a manly figure with a nimbus about the 
head, presses securely across through the darkness the guiding 
Book open in his hands. 

155. ' Truth is deposited with man's last hour/ 

A sick man on his pallet starts in sudden alarm at the solemn 
admonition of a little figure, the embodiment of his last hour, 
which, on the point of flight, poises on his open palm. Other 
sister figures, the last links in the chain of life's hours, ascend 
hand in hand, and are lost to view in the clouds. 

37. A design full of movement and grace. 

The spirits of two friends who have, been separated, but now 
are again joined by Death's hand, meet in descending and 
ascending rush, and are locked ecstatically in one another's 

84. ' Woes cluster ; rare are solitary woes.' 

One of the mightiest of this great series of designs. To convey 
any adequate idea of the terrible power of it is impossible in 

Behold the silver clouds torn asunder ! Strange undefined 
masses afar off swirl downwards through the wide rent. One 
approaches and impends immediately over us. It is appalling ! 
Knit together in one convulsed throe, inseverable partners of 
mingled misery, it is a concrete pack of ' clustered woes ' that 
looms upon our sight, some shrieking in wild anguish, some 
huddled in silent despair. 

U 2 


, The leaden hue of plague is on the face of the central woe, 

and its fear-awakening eyes are bloodshot and streaming tears. 
Among its fellows of the grisly troop, two, flanking this salient 
horror, would haply reveal more fearful lineaments still, were not 
their dread faces buried in bowed despair. 

For long the vision of this confluence of mortal tribulation 
haunts the mind, which shudders as it recalls the giant strength 
of the fearful imagery. 

92. ' Ruin from man is most concealed when near, 

And sends the dreadful tidings in the blow.' 
A noble youth meets a maiden in trusted embrace, and kisses 
her ; she, with treacherous hand stretched behind, stabs him in 
the back. 


Death, furious, with rushing stride, from both hands aims his 
darts. His giant form is vestured only in its own long hair and 
beard, amid which ' numerous ills ' swarm thick, attendant on 
their awful lord. 

The Soul has flown on high, and, seated above the starry 
firmament, gazes, as insatiate with the reflection of God's glory 
in creation, upward to the dazzling light of the eternal throne. 

New hopes and joys are seen emanating from the entranced 
soul, ascending in form of delicate ethereal figures. 

102. ' We give for Time eternity's regard.' 

Three fair females worship, kneeling before the fleeting figure 
of impartial Time, who passes them without respect. 

103. * Night assists me here.' 

A grand design. The ponderous figure of Night seated upon 
a cloud. Over the full moon droop the solemn tresses of her 
silver hair. Her finger to her brow in silent cogitation. 

8 1. ' Where Sense runs savage, broke from Reason's chain, 

And sings false peace, till smothered by the pall.' 
The beauty and terror of this design (which is included in the 
engraved selection) is here greatly enhanced by the colour of 
the green earth and hills and crimson sunrise (ever with Blake 
the portent of impending woe, as, for example, in the poem of the 
' Angel ' 

' So he took his wings and fled, 
Then the morn blush'd rosy red. 
I dried my tears and armed my fears 
With ten thousand shields and spears '), 

against which rises the lithesome figure of young Sense, exhila- 
rating in her new-found liberty, all unconscious of the awful 
Death, who, with dark overhanging pall, poises ready to engulf 
her suddenly in its stifling folds. 

48. * The Spirit walks of every day deceased.' 

A grand spirit figure, with towering wings, moving in slow sad 
step, with drooping hands and dejected head, the eyes fixed as 
in disconsolate grief. The whole of the winged form is white, 
with dark grey background relieving it. 



' Man flies from Time, and Time from Man.' 

Man speeding in one direction, Time flying in the opposite. 
Above the text appear two smaller figures, one mourning the too 
swift current of his days, the other overturning the too sluggish 

'Then welcome 








Death ! thy dreaded harbingers Age and 

Crimson artery and white nerve interlace in tangled maze, and 
coursing through man's curious framework we see, side by side, 
the fell associates, Age and Disease, in mutual action joined. 
Age with white beard and hands extended as if gently soothing 
the mortal system to its rest, and Disease distilling black 
poison through it from two vials. 

' Death wounds to cure ; we fall, we rise, we reign ! 
Spring from our fetters, fasten in the skies.' 

Death, with kindly hand, unbinds the fetters which chain Man 
to the earth, whose liberated spirit, with expanded arms, springs 
exultingly upward, cleaving its path through the blue heaven. 

(End of Night the Second) 

A Titan shade of Death casting down the mouldering wall 
which separates time from eternity. 

Another form of an invention frequent with Blake. A pale 
corpse lies below, stretched across the page, and bowed at its 
feet a solitary mourner. Rejoicingly springs the free soul up- 
ward, two angels escorting it, one of whom looks down with 
pitiful expression on the bereaved weeper. 

A female figure lying stretched in the last moments of life 
beside a troubled sea, beyond which the golden sun sinks down. 
On the upper margin stands a lamp, the smoke of its expired 
light ascending. 

' Ah me ! too long I set, I set at nought 
The swarm of friendly Warnings which around me flew 
And smiled un smitten.' 

Man is seen surrounded by troops of friendly Warnings : some, 
rising from the earth, cling to him, entreating attention ; one 
seeks to 1 pluck his left hand, which wilfully he fastens against 
his side. Three heavenly messengers descend admonishing him 
with consentaneous action; these, with his right hand, he motions 
away. Again we see a crimson sunrise, ominous presage of the 
wrath which follows on stubborn blindness. 

A grand figure of an aged man, leaning eagerly forward, forget- 
ful of his crutch and feebleness, to welcome the advent of ' The 
Friendly Foe,' whose pale immensity is seen towering against the 
dark mists which gather to obscure the sunlight of the earth. 

A seraph seated on a cloud, harping his holy numbers, to whom 
looks up the Christian poet, emulating the heavenly melody on 


his own lyre, while a group of earthly listeners hang entranced 
on his efforts. 

54. 'Man sleeps, and Man alone.' 

The slumbering figure of Man is seen. In his sleep his Hours 
have flitted past unnumbered, as a linked chain of tiny, delicate 
forms, hand in hand, which vanishes in a dark cloud at one 
extremity, and at the other, suddenly snapped, the last Hour of 
the chain stretches out her hand towards a new-born Hour (at 
the other side of the page) never to be enjoyed by the dreamer, 
for it starts back on the verge of the cloud from which it has just 
emerged, as red lightnings, arrows, and swift-hurled shapes of 
woe descend upon the sleeper's head, fondly secure. 

57. ' The world, that gulf of souls, immortal souls, 

Souls elevate, angelic, winged with fire.' 

One flame-winged soul apparently engaged in groping in the 
shallows of a watery gulf for lost treasure, all unregardant of a 
fellow soul near him sinking in its depths, vainly, with flickering 
wings, straggling for deliverance, his eyes upraised to a descend- 
ing angel who stretches out his hand to save. 

32. ' All pay themselves the compliment to think 

They, one day, shall not drivel.' 

An aged man, crowned with cap and bell, reflecting on past 
follies, but still holding to the toy weathercock which has pleased 
his heedless life. 

The abandon of design in the trailing vine which enriches the 
upper margins of the page is delightful in its lively playfulness. 


Title-pnge to 'The Relapse.' 

As Blake perceives the title of this canto there flashes on his 
vision the awful example of relapse which our Lord holds up in 
the warning words, ' Remember Lot's wife.' 

Looking behind, in the very instant of disobedience, smitten 
with her startled hands in the sudden action of horror at the 
sight of guilty Sodom's doom, her hair dishevelled as from un- 
prepared flight, she stiffens on the plain, a white and glistening 
monument of Divine judgment. Afar are seen the domes and 
embattled wall of the city, beneath a sky red glowing like a 
furnace, and pouring down a storm of destroying flame. 

The momentary pause in the flight, and the shock of dismay, 
are rendered subservient to a monumental dignity in the figure 
which makes this design grandly impressive. 

' The Muse 
Has often blushed at her degenerate sons/ 

The Muse of Poetry, bay crowned, with feet enchained to 
earth, sits piping gaily to a gross reclining figure of a crowned 
Venus holding a mirror, from whose side a Cupid aims his darts. 
Above the text a harp lies with a bow and quiver. 


1 64. ' Man smiles in ruins, glories in his guilt, 

And infamy, stands candidate for praise.' 
A laurel-crowned warrior, in black mail, stands, with arrogant 
air, pointing to his blood-stained sword, as claiming the reward 
of conquest ; one iron foot is planted upon the head of an 
unarmed and prostrate victim. 


Night stoops from her seat amid the rolling spheres of the 
universe over the couch of an awakened and trembling sleeper, 
to whom she presents a tablet traced with solemn thoughts and 
memories by the style she holds in her right hand. 


A white and lovely figure of Divine poesy, stretching, with 
vessel upheld in both hands, to catch the dew of heavenly 
inspiration distilled from a blue starry sky. 

i7 2 - l Delightful Gloom ! the clustering thoughts around 

Spontaneous rise, and blossom in the shade.' 
A wonderful design, significant of the fruitfulness of midnight 
meditations. Seated on a cloud, pure as from his Maker's hand, 
Man gathers fruit from a luxuriant vine that, rich with ripest 
clusters, embowers him beneath one great rainbow-like arch 
which sweeps across the starlit sky. 


Pale Grief, opening her endless scroll, aged and grey robed, 
instructs the tender young in the hard lessons of her school. 
Tears drip from overhanging clouds. 

179- * Truth bids me look on men as autumn leaves, 

And all they bleed for as the summer's dust 
Driven by the whirlwind.' 

Sweeping through the air, a keen-eyed, eagle-nosed giant, his 
moustaches twirled in military guise, blows before him with huge 
serpent-mouthed trumpet, as a cloud of dust, both the flying and 
pursuing armies of contending men. A tree, wind-bared of leaves, 
overhangs the page. 

1 88. < Lorenzo, hast though ever weighed a sigh ? ' 

A mighty angel weighs together in a great balance a sunken 
and mourning female figure, against a stately crowned king, with 
orb and sceptre, all whose glory proves lighter than the oppressed 
one's sigh. 

190. ' That noble gift ! that privilege of man 

From Sorrow's pang, the birth of endless joy.' 
A huddled figure of grey Penitence seated in gloom, from 
whose sad head, sunken between its knees, bursts a sudden 
birth of golden joy, fire-winged. ' Blessed are they that mourn, 
for they shall be comforted ' is the kqy-note of this beautiful 

191. When the sick soul, her wonted stay withdrawn, 

Reclines on earth, and sorrows in the dust.' 
Tenderly lovely and touching is this design, which Mr. Bain 
has caused to be well engraved in outline for private distribution. 


Personified as a beautiful female figure, the Soul, heaven born, 
and 'trailing clouds of glory' which sweep in one grand curve 
upward round the page, against the pure blue sky, buries its face 
and soils its golden locks in the dust of this earth, a segment of 
~ <! its orb crossing the lower part of the drawing. 

194. ' What weakness see not children in their sires. 

Grand climacterical absurdities ! ' 

A grandsire with time's snows thick on his head counting his 
cherished gold : his little granddaughter observant of his act. 
Behind, a younger child stretches out its hands to seize the 
perishable object of its desire, a butterfly, which has settled on a 
prickly plant. 


Man, as a shepherd, fatuously lying down to slumber on the 
very brink of an awful precipice, topples, driven off by the 
wind, and all unconscious of his fate, into the abyss below. His 
dog, by instinct wiser, sleeps securely far from the dangerous 
edge. Great cloud masses, magnificently designed, fill the right- 
hand margin. 


A strong man clings to and pursues his way along the trem- 
bling thread of life, which alone sustains him in the midst of 
space. Seated on a cloud, Destiny, as grim and aged Fate, cuts 
the thread with remorseless shears. 

20 1. ' Give Death his due, the wretched and the old ; 

Ev'n let him sweep his rubbish to the grave.' 

The attempt to give visible form to this metaphor treads on 
the limits of absurdity ; still, so terribly in earnest is this giant 
presentation of the ancient pale one, as he sweeps before him a 
heap of infirm and aged beings, while the young and active fly 
from the fatal besom which he wields, that the mind yields to 
the daring simplicity of the designer without resentment. 


The spring of this design resembles that before noticed as 
No. 8 1, but is very inferior in beauty and power. Here, while 
gay pleasure-seekers, rose garlanded, dance to pipe and lyre, 
they are overshadowed by the Titan hand of Death, who, 
crowned with roses in mockery, stoops his pallid face above 
the festival. 

208. ' When P'ortune thus has toss'd her child in air.' 

As a child a shuttlecock, so crowned Fortune tosses her transi- 
tory favourite, a youthful figure, into airy elevation, who, elated 
with his baseless post, recks not of the headlong fall through 
space of his predecessor in the favour of the fickle goddess. 


Ingenuity is exhausted in varied figures of the uncertainty of 
man's estate In this we see a puny mortal, cradled in a lofty 
nest upon the topmost branches of a tall tree, which is seized and 
violently shaken by a wild and howling figure of a mighty wind, 
' Though thou shouldst make thy nest as high as the eagle, I 
will bring thee down from thence, saith the Lord.' 


21 I. 

A grim image of Lucre sits throned above his hidden treasures, 
crushing a helpless victim with one foot, while others worship 
before him, some greedily hugging bags of gold, while one, a 
female figure, whose golden riches have taken wings and fly 
from her, frantically pursues them. 


1 The Infidel Reclaimed.' 

On one side kneels the Christian, with beautifully earnest 
expression, one hand pointing heavenward, the other directing 
attention to the words of the inspired Book which lies open 
between himself and the unbeliever, who kneels on the opposite 
side, and, also pointing to the Book, places the forefinger of his 
other hand upon the seat of reason, as arguing that he finds no 
answering voice within to that of the revealed Word. Above 
floats an angel, who surveys the controversy with wondering 

This forms the frontispiece to the Preface. 

224. ' The day that drove me to the brink 

And pointed at Eternity below.' 

The day of deadly sickness as a strong pursuing figure, has 
driven vainly- resisting man backwards to the brink of a precipice, 
the ' Dreadful Post of Observation,' where he stands, with arms 
uplifted in terror, as he turns his face downward to the enforced 
survey of the yawning pit below, which shoots up long tongues of 
flame towards his trembling feet. 

233. * Ambition, Avarice ; two demons these 

Which goad through every slough our human herd/ 
A plough is guided by a mitred bishop, side by side with whom 
stalks a king, who sharply goads the weary ' hard travelPd ' 
abjects on, that, cruelly harnessed, labour on their knees through 
the miry clay at the will of their relentless drivers. 

234. 'Were they as vain as gaudy-minded man, 

As flatulent with fumes of self-applause, 
Their arts and conquests animals might boast, 
And claim their laurel crowns as well as we.' 
A wolf, terribly designed, with bloody mouth, rending a lovely 
youth, whose fellow takes terrified refuge in the branches of a tree. 

236. * Great ill is an achievement of great Powers.' 

A Titan falls from heaven, clutching at and dragging down, in 
his headlong plunge, two shining worlds from their spheres, 
streaming fiery tails of destruction. 

Pride winged, but with her hands bound and blindfold eyes, 
dares a reckless flight through space. Above is a hawk hooded 
in scarlet. 

239. 'Milk and a swathe at first his whole demand 

His whole domain at last, a turf or stone 
To whom between a world may seem too small.' 


On the top of the page, a mother recumbent with an infant : 
swept with a great circle round about the text is the round 
world, and at the lower margin there stretches a plain monu- 
mental slab upon the green turf. 

242. 'At Glory grasp, and sink in infamy.' 

A grim night scene, in which an idiot plunges into a swiftly 
rushing river, madly grasping at the seeming stars which glitter 
in its deep waters, reflected from the sky above. 

247. ' Wealth, cruel task-master.' 

Old, but strong, with jaundiced face, sits Wealth by a deep pit, 
armed with a spade, and urges his heavy-burdened slave to cast 
his sack of gold therein. 

251. ' The man .... 

Whom immortality's full force inspires.' 
Standing in the full blaze of golden day, arrayed in spotless 
white, appears the righteous man, ' set upon a hill. 7 In the 
sunless cave below cower the earth-bound slaves of ambition, 
lean covetousness, war, and revenge, king, miser, assassin, and 

253. ' Heedless Vanity's fantastic toe.' 

In the hey-day- of youth, a gay maiden figure, flower- wreathed 
and brightly clad, of exquisite grace and sprightliness of design, 
lifts daintily, with either hand, her gauzy robe, as she carols and 
dances heedlessly on towards a new-made grave which gapes for 
her next light step. 

256. 'All to reflourish, fades, 

As in a wheel, all sinks, to reascend ; 
Emblems of man, who passes, not expires.' 
Green-clad, gay Spring, blowing her breezy pipe ; rose- 
wreathed, red Summer ; Autumn adult, and laden with the fruits 
of its own golden season ; and white Winter, with icy trump, 
from which he pours a snowy storm, circle in succession round 
the central text of the page. 

' Nature revolves, but man advances ; both eternal, that a circle, 
this a line.' 

Eternity under the accepted emblem of a serpent whose 
extremities join in a circle ; and on its topmost curve, his noble 
form firmly erect, the feet close together, the hands uplifted to 
full stretch and joined together aspiringly, stands Man, a soaring 
line, against the blue heaven. 

The final illustration of the first volume of the drawings shows 
Death the Awful, awed and worshipping before the Lord of Life 
rising from the grave 

< O Death, where is thy sting ? ' 

The second volume in Mr. Bain's possession opens with a frontis- 
piece which fills the whole page 

Christ as the Light of the World, the Sun of Righteousness, 
appears in the centre of the design, seen only to the bust, and 


environed with thick darkness, which, with His outspread, pierced 
hands and the radiant glory which emanates from His person, He 
parts and dispels. Dimly apparent within the darkness visible 
beneath him, looms the shrouded image of the power of dark- 
ness, writhing in mortal agony, pierced through and through with 
the sharp shafts of ' The Light that shineth in darkness.' 


A contented flock feed at the feet of their discontented and 
murmuring shepherd, who, with rosy morn rising on the sweet 
greensward, and youth possessed, wrings his hands in longing 
for some infatuate desire. 

282. ' Can man by Reason's beam be led astray ? ' 

Blake answers this question by recalling to our minds the young 
man who, though he profited in all the wisdom of his nation, yet 
kept the garments of those that stoned the martyr Stephen, and 
afterward confesses, ' I verily thought within myself that I ought 
to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.' A 
heavenly light illumes the youthful proto-martyr's figure as, with 
arms folded across his breast in intercession for his murderers, 
he falls beneath the stones. 

287. ' Man is a monster, the reproach of heaven ; 

A stain, a dark impenetrable cloud 
On Nature's beauteous aspect.' 

An awful pictorial metaphor of the natural man. Enchained, 
the back seen towards us, is a huddled, crouching figure of mighty 
proportions, his depressed head sunk gloomily between his 
clenched hands, obscuring, like an impenetrable leaden-coloured 
cloud, the great orb of the golden sun, across which, as an 
4 Amazing Blot/ he is flung. 

Virtue as a white-veiled, wan, and haggard vestal, barefoot, 
and ' kept alive by care and toil,' pursuing her midnight labour 
at a spinning-wheel. 


Blind Industry, fain to rest, weary and stumbling with the 
thrall of laying up ' treasure upon earth/ is whipped and spurred 
to ceaseless travail by the evil spirit mounted on his back, 
which he has suffered to control and guide his aims. 

301. ' The Christian truly triumph'd in the Flame.' 

Completely enveloped in the consuming flames which conceal 
the stake on which his naked body is lifted, an aged Christian 
martyr, with hands joyfully upraised, and nought to tell that fire 
is not his native element save the strong chain about his loins, 
seems already soaring heavenward in the flesh. 


Conscience, a womanly figure, white-winged, and clothed in a 
black robe and white stole, with a scarlet hood, 1 bearing a sharp 
spear and table of the law, stands over a penitent, in sad- 
coloured dress, who bows below her feet. 

1 The colour of the hood probably alludes to man's sins, which are compared 
to scarlet for their dye. 


3 6 - 

As a white-vestured messenger of the skies, Truth presents 
her faithful mirror for a mortal's view, who seems as though he 
would fain sink into the earth, if so he might escape its revelation 
of himself. 

A recumbent figure of a bald-headed elder, who, regarding 
with eyes askance two angelic messengers, Duty and Religion, 
turns away his head, and literally stops his ears from their 
celestial monitions. 

313, * Annihilation ! how it yawns before me.' 

Like a swift meteor suddenly extinguished, so we see the Soul, 
' that particle of energy divine,' precipitated from its soaring 
flight, the blasting horror of imminent nothingness strikes on its 
blanched face, its form cowers and shrinks with dread of the 
inevitable doom which has seized upon it, for its lower parts are 
flaming, and the smoke of its own consumption streams in its 
downward wake through the chaotic darkness, amid bursting 
worlds which fall with it, shapeless, sweeping fiery trains of ruin. 

315. * And is there nought on earth 

But a long train of transitory forms 
Rising and breaking millions in an houf ? 
Bubbles of a fantastic deity, blown up 
In sport, and then in cruelty destroy'd? ' 
The page glistens with floating bubbles of creation ; two new 
blown, each contain an infant form for a moment, others burst- 
ing let their inmates fall through space, which is filled with 
scattered, wind-driven vapour of past generations of transient 

320. ' Poor man, a spark 

From non-existence ' 

Here a variety of the same idea is given in a babe beaming 
with joy within the effulgence of a vivid meteor which, with 
lightning velocity, crosses the darkness. Very full in colour, the 
zigzag tail of the meteor especially being of bright prismatic 

328. ' Who would not give a trifle to prevent 

What he would give a thousand worlds to cure ?' 
In the illustration this reflection of the poet is presented in the 
vivid guise of our Lord's stern parable of Dives. Lazarus reposes 
in the bosom of Father Abraham above ; the black, impassable gulf 
of separation lies between them and the rich man, who from a 
sea of surging flame looks upward, his hands as if about to clasp 
in entreaty, checked in their vain purpose by the austere admoni- 
tion, ' Son, remember.' The colour intense, blue, crimson, and 
amber flame writhing up against a black void. 

33 2 - 

The Soul, the dainty Ariel of man's estate, sent out on ' curious 

trial,' about to ' dart her flight,' with tiny foot resting on the 

brow of a studious man below, who, leaning on an open book, 

points the path of its adventure. The little figure, attentive to 

his command, beautifully poised. 



Here we have the antecedent of that most majestic of concep- 

' When the morning stars sang together 
And all the Sons of God shouted for joy/ 

which occurs in the ' Inventions to the Book of Job.' From 
the shape of the space at Blake's command, one white- 
vestured angel alone is seen entire, and the exultant symmetry 
of the spreading arms of two others fills the upper margin. 
Admirable is the figure of the reclaimed unbeliever below, on his 
knees beside the open Book which has shot conviction into his 

343. ' That tyrant, Hope ! mark how she domineers ; 

She bids us quit realities for dreams.' 

Winged and visionary Hope springs lightly on the shoulders of 
a labourer engaged in reaping a golden harvest, and points him 
to some dreamy prize, for which he casts away his sickle, and 
hastes, to follow her witching flight. 

The prophet Isaiah, with scroll and ready pen, seated with 
enraptured eye upturned toward a glorious seraph swooping 
vertically down, bearing between his hands the live and purging 
coal taken from the altar, which he applies to the prophet's 
confessedly * unclean lips.' 

This grand design ends the Seventh Night. 

There follows here the title-page to the Eighth Night. All 
attempt to present this sublimely terrible vision to the reader's 
mind must fall far short : 

On the right margin, crowned and bedizened with jewels, the 
name of Mystery on her forehead, and the golden cup of her 
fornication in her right hand, her left stretched out in invitation, 
sits the Scarlet Woman, throned on the back of the great red 
Dragon, whose dreadful, sanguine tail, blurred with streaks of 
murky black, and sting-tipped, flung angrily on high, casts down 
the stars of heaven. Around the base and left-hand margins of 
the text are ranged his seven devouring heads, an infernal unity 
of the maleficent powers of 'The Mystery of Iniquity.' The 
most prominent and central one is crowned with a papal tiara, 
and has venerable white beard and locks, but two sharp horns 
protrude from its merciless brows, beneath which glare white, 
stony eyeballs, pupil-less, streaming hypocritical tears down its 
brazen cheeks, and its implacable lips are red and dripping with 
'the blood of the saints.' Its immediate supporters are two 
crowned heads, significant of the kingly powers which have up- 
held and abetted the Romish tyranny, the nearer one being in 
likeness as a ferocious ram, with huge brazen horns meeting in 
its threatening front, and sullen brooding sockets whose dusky 
depths gleam with lurid fire. Next of these soul-quaking terrors, 
stretching its scaled neck toward us, is the power of conquering, 
cruel war. The livid semblance that it wears for face is shut 
within an iron casque, armed with horns, and bears, within its 
skull-like orbits, bloodshot and lidless balls, whose raging fiery 


glare fascinates horribly, and its gore-streaked lips are drawn 
back in savage fury over grinding teeth. Last, on the right hand, 
a judge's wig set on its steel-horned head, is seen the figure of 
that iniquitous justice which ' turns judgment into wormwood,' 
its frigid visage blue-cold and serpent-scaled, with darkly- 
. gleaming eyes full of malignity, and passionless mouth armed 
with venomous fangs. Subordinate to these four there rise up, 
on the left-hand margin, three other heads, which complete the 
seven one crowned, one mitred, and one coronetted. Such are 
the thunderous features of this transcendent and marvellous 
vison, without parallel in imaginative art. 

35 1. * How frail, men, things ! how momentary both ! 

Fantastic chase, of Shadow's haunting shades.' 

A shadowy male figure chases through grey vacancy a similar 
shadowy female form. Most striking for weird effect and the 
swift impetuosity of the filmy shapes, which are drawn with a 
white outline, left bounded on both its sides by the sharp edge 
of the grey wash upon which they are projected. 

352. ' Fame's trumpet seldom sounds, but like the knell 

It brings bad tidings ! how it hourly blows 
Man's misadventures round the list'ning world.' 
A mighty flying female figure of Fame trumpeting, to a greedy- 
eared crowd below her, the story of others' misadventures, her 
great wings expanded, and full of eyes and ears. 

359. 'A wilderness of joys ! perplexed with doubts, 

And sharp with thorns.' 

A charmingly tender composition, in which a fond mother 
restrains and warns her eager child, who stretches* out her little 
untaught hand to pluck a rose beset with piercing thorns. 

361- / 

Brazen-coloured Falsehood subtly encircles with her burnished 
serpent tail the steps of a gentle youth to whom she feigns to act 
as kind instructress, directing him to the example of one who, 
to the waist, appears a venerable and religious elder, with his 
hands clasped in adoration, but whose monstrous lower parts, as 
of a steel-clad dragon, reveal his devilish parentage. A female, 
with finger on her lip, appears behind him, and seems to caution 
the monster from betraying himself by an unguarded word. This 
woman dressed in crimson is the World his mistress. 

372. ' The mighty Caesar crowned 

With laurels, in full senate greatly falls, 

By seeming friends, that honour and destroy.' 

Slightly drawn, but terribly effective in the concentered rush 
of the descending daggers of the conspirators upon the prostrate 
figure of Caesar, laurel- crowned, covering his face with his robe 
of imperial purple. 


Black Hatred, gnawing his nails, armed and seated on a mount 
of ice, his feet upon the breast of a slain and lovely youth, whose 
body, seen in profile, lies across the page in a serpentine line 
after a manner several times repeated in these volumes. 


377. * Wealth may seek us ; but wisdom must be sought ; 

Sought before all.' 

In this simple and noble design, Blake's thoughts wander from 
the abstractions of the English poet to the dramatic figures of 
' The Song of Songs.' 

We see, in the grey night, 'the watchmen that go about the 
city' bearing their lanterns and staves, to whom the white 
bride, wandering in distraught and anxious search, seems to 
address the question, ' Saw ye him whom my soul loveth ? ' 

Little children throng around the feet of Christ as the Good 
Shepherd, learning of the meek and lowly One ; sheep and 
lambs mingle with them, and a lovely hint of pastoral landscape 
appears beyond. 

383. ' ' Go fix some weighty truth ; 

Chain down some passion.' 

Rising from the open Bible, which has nerved it to resolve, 
the Soul, a beautiful female figure, seizes a deformed and fiery- 
hoofed evil spirit, whom she holds down with resistless force, 
and binds, spite of its beating wings and struggles to escape. 

385. * Retire and read thy Bible to be gay.' 

A lamp-lit tent beneath a starry sky, within which a young 
man on his knees holds at arm's length 'The Book,' a beautiful 
cherub figure supporting it from behind, while another crowns 
him with a garland of fresh roses. 

Conscience, black-robed and white-stoled, as before, but with- 
out the red hood, lies dead, pierced with an arrow shot by a 
youth, who recoils, scared at his reckless deed. 

389. ' The man is dead who for the body lives, 

Lured by the beating of his pulse, to list 
With ev'ry lust that wars against his peace.' 

A dwarf, gaudily attired in a fantastic military dress, with 
asses' ears and cloven feet, gaily beats a drum in accompaniment 
to another bestial figure playing on a fife. A young man follows, 
them, entranced with the stirring air. 


Man lies by a rock-bound shore, his thoughts flying forth from 
him, in likeness of delicate airy figures driven by the wind to 
perish in the endless sea as soon as born. 

.39 6 - 

A bloated figure of a triple-crowned pope, again drawn as 
with sightless eyes ; his scarlet robe just lifted reveals a cloven 
foot, which a monk kneels to kiss. 

400. * Now see the man immortal : . . . . 

The world's dark shades, in contrast set, shall raise 
His lustre more ; though bright, without a foil.' 
Similar in motive to the drawing numbered 251. The spiritu- 
ally-minded man lifted on the sumiifit of a mountain and bathed 
in morning light. Beneath, float thick mists, under whose dismal 


shade a close-pressed herd of men are gathered in the steaming 


Earth, always figured as a woman attired in pale crimson 
wherever the impersonation occurs in the latter numbers of these 
designs, here reclines upon the round world, and stretches out 
temptingly a crown and sceptre to a noble male figure, who, 
turning away, rejects her seductions. 

407. 'Wit. 

She'll sparkle, puzzle, flutter, raise a dust, 
And fly conviction in the dust she raised.' 

Arrayed in gay yellow dress, with gauzy, iris wings, Wit, with 
one hand stopping her ear to Reason's plea, with the other lifts 
her mask mockingly from her face as she flutters fleetly away in 
a cloud of dust which she raises to cover her retreat. 

469. ' There is, I grant, a triumph of the pulse, 

A dance of spirits, a mere froth of joy.' 

Revellers recline around a wine-bowl ; gyrating in mazy ring 
* on its narrow edge dance a troop of spirits. The bowl, black 
without, and filled with red wine, casts a deep shadow on the 
board from a hellish light above, where glowers a bat-winged 
fiend (his face half hidden by the squared text). Warm-coloured 
clouds fill the page on either side, amid which sport minute 
figures, the mad freaks and fancies of intoxication. 

On the opposite page the bowl lies shattered on the festive 
board, the gay spirits that whirled around its ring lie drowned in 
the broken fragment of its bottom. The warm clouds have 
changed to chilling vapours, and over the stupefied and prostrate 
revellers rises into full view the horror of the demon Nemesis. 


' The Consolation.' 

Is prefaced by a pretty invention of a white-robed child 
mounting heavenwards on a golden singing-bird, who, calling to 
its naked fellow below that sports upon a butterfly's wings, seeks 
to win him to partake his own aspiration. 

260. * To know ourselves diseased is half our cure.' 

In a white veil and grey dress, the woman with the issue of 
blood, ghastly pale, stoops and stretches out her hand to touch 
the hem of Christ's garment, who walks before, a child attendant 
on either side His steps, one of whom looks up reverently in 
His face. 

Three furies, two of the awful triad are fully seen, howling 
with direful eyes and long unkempt locks as they peal out the 
knell of fate, one foot of each in the great loop which ends the 
bell-ropes, which, with their hands, they grasp in terrible energy 
of action. The foremost one is dressed in yellow, the others 
in grey and purple. 


434. ' Then as a king deposed disdains to live, 

He falls on his own scythe ; nor falls alone. 
His greatest foe falls with him. Time and he 
Who murdered all Time's offspring, Death, expire.' 

Pierced with his own dart. Death lies extended, his awful head 
towards the spectator. Beside him, falling on his own mighty 
scythe, Time receives his final stroke. 

Slight and hasty, but not unworthy of the tremendous theme. 


On the page facing, ' Awful Eternity ! offended queen ! now 
reigns alone,' holding an open book and throned on the corpses 
of the once mighty arbiters of man's fate, Time and Death. 


Another repetition of the motive of the ' Sons of God shouting 
together for joy.' Many cherubim against a golden glory, with 
uplifted hands, praising God. 

444. ' When Pain can't bless, Heaven quits us in despair.' 

A pallid and aged man kneels in praise, while a strong figure 
of Pain binds him about with piercing thorns. The scene a rocky 

One breadth of soft grey gloom, in which floats Night, a lovely 
female form, star coronetted, with loosely flowing cloudy hair 
radiating from her person on every side ; she wears an azure 
girdle gemmed with stars, and bears a star in the expanded palm 
of her right hand. 

457. 'One sun by day, by night ten thousand shine.' 

A design of radiant and supernatural beauty. The stars above 
personified by beautiful youths with golden urns, from which 
they pour forth silver streams of flowing light, which all converge 
into the rapt eyes of the adoring mortal below, kneeling with 
arms crossed upon his breast. 


Remarkable for the loveliness of a floating female figure of a 
planet, carrying two infant stars in her arms. 

A brilliant rushing crowd of personated stars descend and, 
grasping men, turn their heads forcibly to view the bright witness 
which they bear to their Creator. One, an old man, thrusts the 
heavenly monitors away ; another wilfully covers his eyes with 
his hands. 


Chance, footless, crowned with butterfly head-dress, and bear- 
ing a rose wreath, fleets across the grey, wild sea, over which, 
cloud-throned, sits old, blind Fate, his hand grasping a black 
chain, which he sinks into the watery depth. 


Only the back of the figure is seen, yet how fervently expres- 
sive of awe and admonition is this kneeling Ezekiel, his prayer- 
joined hands just seen above his head. Before him, with 
mysterious whirl, as of creation's throes, is seen ' the great cloud, 
and the fire involving itself, and the colour of amber,' and the 


mystic revolution of the high and dreadful interlacing beryl 
wheels, set full of burning eyes, within which, ranged in stately 
order, stand the golden -winged cherubim, crying, * Holy, Holy, 

A tiny vessel tossed on a dark stormy sea. The giant Orion 
rises in colossal majesty, untroubled and unchanged in all his 
starry constellation, over the restless horizon. 

504. ' With the bold comet, take my bolder flight 

Amid those sovereign glories of the skies.' 

The Spirit of Man in form, as a figure, wonderful in impetuous 
ravishment of admiration, borne upward in the tail of a great 
comet, and, grasping its streaming fiery hair with both hands, 
searches the wonders of the starry spheres. 

507. ' Can rage for plunder make a God ? ' 

A laurel-crowned, scale-armoured brazen statue of a Warrior, 
his foot upon the head of a sunken victim, stands upon an altar, 
beneath which a group of men circle in adoration. 

512. * Great Vine ! on Thee, on Thee the cluster hangs ; 
The filial cluster; infinitely spread.' 

Thickly hung with clustering grapes a rich vine surrounds the 
figure of Christ : angelic and human intelligences, all dependent 
on Him, mingle in its branches. 


A stupendous fantasy, which shows the Soul stooping over the 
abyss, and with finger pointing to the stars, questioning dim old 
Chaos, a huge amorphous shade, concerning the original of their 
bright existence. 

A young maiden stoops over the flowers of the field which, as 
a multitude of gay tiny beings, point their spiry hands aloft, 
testifying to the great Author of their loveliness. 

Christ as the Creative Word. All created existences, as in- 
numerable infant forms, fly towards Him as their centre and 
axis ; one baby form nestles in his breast. 

529. Christ as the Creator of Man. 

Boldly figuring the primeval division between the waters 
and the dry land, a seething sea fills the foreground, its shore a 
mound of dark red earth, on which lies, fresh formed, the body of 
the first man, so moulded with bent knees and clasped hands 
that the first action of the yet unquickened clay must be adora- 
tion of its Maker. Over it stoops the Eternal Word ; His 
omnipotent hand touches the godlike brow, while into its nostrils 
He breathes the breath of life, and, lo ! the dark, ruddy clay 
pales in the face, the hue of life appears, the upturned eyes 
confess their Lord, and the opening lips give utterance to the 
first human words of wondering praise. 
532. ' At thy good hour, 

Gently, ah gently, lay me in my bed 
My clay cold bed.' 
Exquisitely tender. Four angels at the corners of an open 





grave hold between them the corpse of an old man shrouded in 
a winding sheet which stretches above the grave in one long 
soft curve. Above, the Saviour appears with expanded arms, and 
armed evil spirits fly discomfited. 

Christ, in white robe and dazzling glory, stands, about to knock 
at the door of a house, within which a young man, watch- 
ing with lighted lamp, hears his Lord's approach, ere he knocks, 
and seems on the point of leaping forward with eager feet to 
admit Him. Two other watchers attend behind. 

' When Time, like he of Gaza, in his wrath 
Plucking the pillars that support the world 
In Nature's ample ruins lies entombed.' 

A mighty figure of Samson hurling down, with all his force, 
the upholding pillars of the Philistines' pleasure-house, com- 
pletes the stupendous task that Blake was set to accomplish 
when he entered on the commission for these designs. 


X 2 





Reprinted from the London Quarterly Review, January 1869. 

For a reference to the author of this essay see the Supplementary 
Chapter to the Life of Blake, Vol. I. pp. 428-9. 

The omitted portions are extracts or summaries from the foregoing 
"Life of Blakef as a review of which the essay originally appeared. 

THE great landscape-painter, Linnell whose portraits 
were, some of them, as choice as Holbein's in the year 
1827 painted a portrait of William Blake, the great idealist, 
and an engraving of it is here before us as we write. A 
friend looking at it observed that it was " like a landscape." 
It was a happy observation. The forehead resembles a corru- 
gated mountain-side worn with tumbling streams " blanching 
and billowing in the hollows of it ; " the face is twisted into 
" as many lines as the new map with the augmentation of 
the Indies:" it is a grand face, ably anatomised, full of 
energy and vitality ; and out of these labyrinthine lines there 
gazes an eye which seems to behold things more than mortal. 
At the exhibition of National Portraits at South Kensington, 
there was a portrait of the same man by Thomas Phillips ; 
but very different in treatment [see Frontispieces to Vols. I. 
and II]. The skin covers the bones and sinews more calmly ; 
the attitude is eager, wistful, and prompt. Comparing the 


two so fine and so various portraits, you are able ade- 
quately to conceive the man, and in both you feel that this 
awful eye, far-gazing, subduing the unseen to itself, was the 
most wonderful feature of the countenance. It is the counte- 
nance of a man whose grave is not to be recognised at this 
day, while Linnell lives on in venerable age, producing his 
glorious representations of the phenomena of nature as she 
appears out of doors ; and, we believe, enjoying a large 
success which he would merit, if for nothing else, as the 
reward of his kindness to William Blake. * * * 

If we wished by a single question to sound the depths of 
a man's mind and capacity for the judgment of works of 
pure imagination, we know of none we should be so content 
to put as this one, " What think you of William Blake ? " 
He is one of those crucial tests which, at once, manifest the 
whole man of art and criticism. He is a stumbling-block 
to all pretenders, to all conventional learnedness, to all merely 
technical excellence. Many a notorious painter, whose can- 
vases gather crowds and realise hundreds of pounds, might 
be, as it were, detected and shelved by the touch of this 
" officer in plain clothes." In him there is an utter freedom 
from pretence. Mr. Thackeray with all his minute percep- 
tion of human weaknesses and meannesses could not have 
affixed upon this son of nature any, the smallest, accusation 
of what he has called "snobbishness." As soon might we 
charge the west wind, or the rising harvest moon, or the grey- 
plumed nightingale with affectation, as affix the stigma upon 
this simple, wondering, child-man, who wanders in russet by 
" the shores of old romance," or walks with " death and 
morning on the silver horns," in careless and familiar con- 
verse with the angel of the heights. You may almost gather 
so much if you look on this engraving alone. Say if that 
upright head, sturdy as Hogarth's, sensitive as Charles 
Lamb's, dreamy and gentle as Coleridge's, could ever have 
harboured a thought either malignant or mean ? It is a 
recommendation to the biography. He must have a dull 


soul indeed, who, having seen that face, does not long to 
know who and what the man was who bore it ; and it shall 
be our endeavour, in our humble way, to act as a guide to 
the solution of the inquiry. But before we give some 
account of "who," we must be permitted to offer some 
preliminary reflections, enabling us better to understand 
" what " he was. 

No question in art or literature has been more discussed 
and with less decisiveness than that of the relations of sub- 
ject-matter to style or form, and on the view taken by the 
critic of the comparative value of these relations will depend 
the degree of respect and admiration with which he will 
regard the products of Blake's genius. To those who look 
on the flaming inner soul of invention as being of far more 
importance than the grosser integuments which harbour and 
defend it, giving it visibility and motion to the eye, Blake 
will stand on one of the highest summits of excellence and 
fame. To those who, having less imagination and feeling, 
are only able to comprehend thought when it is fully and 
perfectly elaborated in outward expression, he must ever 
seem obscure, and comparatively unlovely. There can be no 
doubt- that the true ideal is that which unites in equal 
strength the forming and all-energising imagination, and the 
solid body of. external truth by which it is to manifest itself 
to the eye and mind. There are moments when the sincere 
devotee of Blake is disposed to claim for him a place as 
great as that occupied by Michael Angelo ; when, carried 
away by the ravishment of his fiery wheels, the thought is 
lost beyond the confines of sense, and he seems " in the 
spirit to speak mysteries." In more sober hours, when it is 
evident that we are fixed, for the present, in a system of 
embodiment which soul informs, but does not blur, or 
weaken, or obscure, we are compelled to wish that to his 
mighty faculty of conception Blake had added that scientific 
apprehensiveness which, when so conjoined, never fails to 
issue in an absolute and permanent greatness. But, having 


granted thus much, let us not spoil one of the most original 
and charming of the many joys to be found " in stray gifts to 
be claimed by whoever shall find " along the meads of art, 
by hankering after what will not be found, or quarrelling with 
what we cannot mend. Before we can come to a true initia- 
tion into, and an abiding enjoyment of, the domains of repre- 
sentative art, we must have a keen, clear, settled, and con- 
tented view of its limitations. Far less of the fruitlessness 
of discontent enters into poetry and literature than into the 
subject of painting and sculpture. One would think that 
the reason of this was obvious ; yet it is lost sight of con- 
tinually. Our experience has shown us that there are few 
who receive from works of a plastic kind a tithe of their 
power to please, because of their narrow, uncatholic, queru- 
lous condition of mind, arising from a false standard and un- 
warrantable expectations. They will not be at the pains to 
recollect the wide chasm of difference between a medium in 
which only that need be told which can be told with truth, 
and one in which all must be told, either truthfully or un- 
truthfully : they will not reflect that the visible phenomena 
of nature are endless ; that absolute perfection requires the 
presence of the whole series of those phenomena, and that 
nothing less can produce on the eye the full effect of nature ; 
that the conditions on which representations are made 
are subject to such an infinity of accidents, that it would 
take a regiment rather than a single man to catch the 
mere blush and bloom of any one aspect of nature at any 
one time. They forget that life is short ; health, variable ; 
opportunity, mutable ; means, precarious ; memory, feeble ; 
days, dark ; " models," impracticable ; pigments, dull ; and 
media, disappointing. 

Let us implore the visitor of gallery and studio to reflect 
for a while on these inexorable limitations and distinctions, 
and to endeavour rather to extract pleasure out of what is 
absolutely there y than to repine over the lack of sufficiencies 
which, probably, if demanded, would be found as incom- 


patible with the subject treated as to paint the creaking of a 
gibbet, or the shriek of a steam- whistle. For our own part, 
with any such persons we should hesitate until this inves- 
tigation has been comprehensively and satisfactorily made, 
to draw forth, on a winter evening, and in the sober quiet of 
the study, where alone such an action should be performed, 
that plain, grand, and solemn volume which is called Illustra- 
tions of the Book of Job, invented and engraved by William 
Blake. * * * And yet our inward thought on the subject is 
that in the whole range of graphic art there is no epic more 
stately, no intellectual beauty more keen and thrilling, no 
thinking much more celestial and profound. 

The history and career of the designer of this noble poem 
are as interesting as his work. * * * He was a dreamy child 
and fond of rambling into the country, to Blackheath, Norwood, 
and Dulwich. His faculties and proclivities were soon 
enough seen, and in startling forms. He not only imagined, 
but said that he actually saw angels nestling in a tree, and 
walking among the haymakers in a field. 

In these country rambles, we have one of the germs of his 
peculiar character and genius. Human powers and oppor- 
tunities act and re-act on each other. The fledgling bird 
has, enfolded in its bosom, the passion for flight and for song, 
and realises by foretaste, one might think, as the winds rock 
its nest, the music of the woods and the rapture of the illimit- 
able air. So there are premonitory stirrings, as sweet and 
inexpressible, in the breast of the heaven-made child of 
genius. They are its surest sign. Talent grows insensibly, 
steadily and discreetly. Genius usually has, in early years, 
a joyous restlessness, a keen, insatiable relish of life ; an eye 
soon touched with the ' fine frenzy,' and glancing everywhere. 
It is 

' Nursed by the waterfall 

That ever sounds and shines, 
A pillar of white light upon the wall 
Of purple cliffs aloof descried.' 


It is as various, as incessant, as full of rainbow colour and 
mingled sound. One of our most unquestionable men of 
genius tells us how, as a child, landscape nature was effectually 
haunted to him. The cataract chimed in his ears and sang 
mysterious songs ; the ' White Lady of Avenel ' fluttered 
about his path, or sank in the black swirl and foam of the 
whirlpool. A child-painter will find it a bliss to notice that 
the distant hills are of a fine Titianesque blue, long before 
he knows who Titian was, or has seen a picture. It will give 
him ineffable joy to see how the valley lifts itself towards 
the mountains, and how the streams meander from their 
recesses. He is not taught this ; it comes to him as blossoms 
come to the spring, and is the first mark of his vocation. 
It was this inward thirst and longing that sent out the boy 
Blake into ithe fields and lanes, and among the surburban 
hills. The force of boyish imagination must have been 
stronger in him than in most, even of the children of genius, 
for, as early as the age of thirteen or fourteen, the conceptions 
of his mind began to assume an external form. He saw a 
tree sparkling in the sun, and discovered that it was filled 
with angels. When he narrated this event at home, his 
father was disposed to beat him for telling a lie, and would 
have done so but for the interposition of his mother. Yet he 
continued to maintain the substantial truth of his story. In 
later life he perplexed friends and strangers by his mingling 
of the inward and outward. He was, on one occasion, 
" talking to a little group gathered round him, within hearing 
" of a lady whose children had just come home from board - 
" ing-school for the holidays. 'The other evening/ said 
" Blake, in his usual quiet way, ' taking a walk, I came to a 
" meadow, and at the further corner of it I saw a fold of 
tf lambs. Coming nearer, the ground blushed with flowers, 
'* and the wattled cote and its woolly tenants were of an 
" exquisite pastoral beauty. But I looked again, and it 
"proved to be no living flock, but beautiful sculpture.' The 
" lady, thinking that this was a capital holiday-show for her 


" children, eagerly interposed, ' I beg your pardon, Mr. 
" Blake, but may I ask where you saw this ? ' ' Here, madam/ 
" answered Blake, touching his forehead. The point of view 
" from which Blake himself regarded his visions was by no 
" means the mad view those ignorant of the man have 
" fancied. He would candidly confess that they were not 
" literal matters of fact, but phenomena seen by his imagina- 
" tion, realities none the less for that, but transacted within 
" the realm of mind." We must say that there is something 
baffling in this double-minded assertion. That ideas in " the 
realm of mind " become, where the faculty of imagination is 
strong, equivalent in importance to realities, is never ques- 
tioned ; it is a waste of our interest and sympathy to claim 
for them more than a mental life, since no end can be 
answered by it, unless it be to suggest an unnecessary charge 
of unsoundness of mind ; and, on the other hand, the want 
of judgment displayed in thus uselessly tampering with the 
feelings of others exposes a man to a similar charge on 
different grounds. But even in regard to what is called 
vision by the inward eye, there are certain limitations which 
should not be forgotten. Fuseli wished he could " paint up 
to what he saw? We have heard of other instances where 
this clearness of mental vision was laid claim to, where 
nevertheless, the artist made abundance of various pre- 
paratory sketches. It appears to us that if the interior 
image does indeed possess the actual completeness of life, 
there is nothing to do but copy what is before the mind's 
eye. We know painters of the highest imagination who do 
not possess this extravagant sensibility and completeness of 
parts in the regions of conception. They have the animation 
of a labouring, inward idea, which glimmers before the vision. 
They have judgment and taste, by which they know when it 
is successfully translated into outward form. But all the 
greatest painters have referred to and depended most minutely 
on the aid of natural models for the whole series of facts by 
means of which the image was to be realised on canvas. 


Young Blake's vision of angels, when analysed, would 
probably occur in some such way as the following : It was in 
no green-topped, suburban tree that he saw the heavenly 
visitants. We must rather suppose him returning, after the 
oxygen of the Surrey hill winds had exalted his nerves, 
among the orchards of some vale into which the last rays of 
the sun shine with their setting splendours. Here he pauses, 
leans over a gate, looks at a large, blossom-loaded tree, in 
which the threads of sunlight are entangled like gossamers 
which " twinkle into green and gold." A zephyr stirs the 
cloud of sun- stricken bloom, where white, commingled with 
sparkling red, flushes over leaves of emerald. Tears of 
boyish delight " rise from his heart, and gather to his eyes/' 
as he gazes on it. The rays which kindle the blossoms turn 
his gathered tears to prisms, through which snow-white and 
ruby blooms, shaken along with the leaf-emeralds, quiver and 
dance. The impressible brain, already rilled with thoughts 
of the " might of stars and angels," kindles suddenly into a 
dream-like, creative energy, and the sunny orchard becomes 
a Mahanaim, even to his outward eye. 

So it must have been with that other similar incident. 
He rambles among hayfields, where white-robed girls, grace- 
ful as those whom Mulready has represented in the hay- 
making scene in Mr. Baring's gallery, are raking the fragrant 
fallen grass, and singing as they move. There are times 
when men not particularly imaginative, looking on the bloom 
of girlhood, and softened by the music of youthful voices, 
come very near to the illusion by which the imagination 
raises " a mortal to the skies," or draws " an angel down." 
Blake, under the enchantment of boyhood and beauty, only 
took the short remaining stride, and fancy became sufficiently 
veracious fact. * * * 

It was one of the happy circumstances of Blake's career 
that his parents did not attempt to throw hindrances in the 
way of his becoming an artist : most men observe with con- 
siderable anxiety any traces of special inclination to the 


pursuit of art shown by their children, because of the great 
uncertainty which, no doubt, attaches to the calling. A few 
words may here be worth setting down on this head. Times 
have greatly altered in this, as in so many other particulars, 
since Blake's day. The whole field and apparatus of design 
have been enlarged. In the year 1767 there was nothing like 
the variety of occupation for the painter which there is now. 
In those days the artist, like the poet, had little chance of 
success unless he were taken by the hand and " patronised," 
in the old sense of the word. As the likelihood of being thus 
noticed depended greatly on accident, it was a dangerous risk 
for a lad to run when he resolved on throwing his life into the 
pursuit of painting or sculpture. Reynolds was so fortunate as 
to obtain high patronage early in life, and was of a constitution 
of mind able to use, without abusing, his opportunities. 
Wilkie, when only twenty years of age, gained the life-long 
friendship and support of Sir George Beaumont and Lord 
Mulgrave. He, too, had that admiration for grand society, 
and that placid and humble temper, which promoted the 
stability of such aids to success. Jackson was found on a 
tailor's shop-board by the same kindly and noble Lord 
Mulgrave, and was allowed 2OO/. a year to enable him to 
study, until it became evident such good fortune was ruining 
him, and the annuity was mercifully withdrawn. No doubt 
many young painters have been " taken up " by eminent 
patrons, who have never made their way in life. Patronage 
will not qualify a painter, though the want of it; may prevent 
the highest abilities from being fairly developed. It is 
questionable whether even the best early patronage would 
have enabled Blake to succeed in any high degree. We 
shall see, as we proceed, that the inherent qualities of his 
mind the marked and settled characteristics of his work, 
chosen and cultivated with a strength of conviction which no 
opinion of others, no baits of fortune, no perception of self- 
interest, could have shaken or disturbed these, as well as 
quality of his temper, were such that he never could have 


been largely appreciated during his own life. In so far as 
he becomes more and more recognised, it will be through a 
medium of interpretation, partly literary, partly artistic, which 
will enable thoughtful and refined minds to read his works as 
they read the classics in the dead languages. The lapse of a 
century has altered all the external conditions of art. There 
is no longer a need for patronage, in the ancient sense of the 
the word. No painter has to take his turn in Lord Chester- 
field's ante-room pictured for us by E. M. Ward with the 
yawning parson, who comes to dedicate his volume of sermons ; 
the widow who wants a place in the charity school for her son ; 
the wooden-legged, overlooked, sea-captain, who indignantly 
lugs out his turnip of a chronometer ; the insolent, red-coated 
man of the turf, who peers through an eye-glass, fixed on the 
end of his jockey whip, at the frowning and impatient Samuel 
Johnson, in snuff-colour, who is perhaps even now chewing 
the bitter cud of that notable sentence which begins, " Is not 
a patron my Lord," and ends with the words " encumbers him 
with help." It is comparatively rarely that an English noble 
buys the more precious work of the pencil. The men to 
whom the painter addresses himself with hope are the wealthy 
merchant, the successful tradesman, the tasteful lawyer, the 
physician in good practice. While he pushes himself up to 
the higher levels, most young men of any invention and skill 
can keep poverty at arm's length by designing on wood for 
Punch, or Judy, or the Illustrated News, or the Cornhill 
Magazine, or the Good Words, or one of that legion of 
periodicals, weekly and monthly, which bristle with clever 
woodcuts, and in which, as in an open tilting-yard, young 
squires of the pencil may win their spurs. Even when the 
power of invention is not present in a high degree, there is 
much work of a prosaic kind required, in doing which a fair 
living may be obtained by a diligent young man of average 
ability, not to speak of the exceedingly valuable practice 
afforded by this kind of labour. It seems not unlikely that 
this field will enlarge. Society is meeting its modern abridg- 


ments of time for reading by a rational employment of the 
arts of illustration the photograph and the wood engraving. 
We learn in a glance, nowadays, more than our forefathers 
learned in a page of print ; yet if William Blake had lived in 
these days of ample opportunity his works would have been 
equally at a discount. He dealt with the abiding, the abstract 
with the eternal, and not the fleeting, aspects of passing 
life. What the Book of Job is to the Corn/till Magazine, 
that was the mind of Blake to ' the spirit of the age.' 

* * * The influence of Blake's solitary Gothic studies 
during his apprenticeship to Basire is traceable all through 
his career. While the antique is the finest school for the 
study of the structure of the human form in its Adamic 
strength and beauty, the religious sculpture of the thirteenth 
and fourteenth centuries is the noblest material of study for 
the spiritual powers of form. The faces, though not often 
realising much delicacy of modelling, have far more expres- 
sion than in the Greek statues. There is a mingling of 
ascetic severity, with contemplative repose which transfuses 
itself into the beholder's mind, and gains upon him stealthily 
but surely, till he ' forgets himself to marble.' These monu- 
ments cannot be separated from the piles of wonderful archi- 
tecture to which they belong. The niche in which a figure 
of bishop or king is placed is a portion of a great whole. It 
is usually adapted to its own position and lighting a most 
important fact in monumental sculpture. There is a fine 
passage in Rogers's Italy describing the monument by 
Michael Angelo, where a warrior sits musing in gigantic 
repose under the shadow of his helmet, which casts so deep 
a gloom over the upper part of his face that, to the imagina- 
tion of the beholder, the soul looks out of the frowning shade, 
and ' like a basilisk, it fascinates and is intolerable/ A cast 
of the same statue may be seen at the Crystal Palace, but 
not with the same circumstantial advantages. The ghostly 
fascination of that glooming shadow is gone, though much 
remains. The power which the statuary of one of our old 



cathedrals may acquire over the mind is inconceivable, unless 
we do as Blake did during this advantageous sojourn in the 
Abbey, so replenished with the most august memories and 
images. The verger's voice must cease to echo among the 
soaring shafts of the nave, the last vibration of the organ 
must die among the groinings of the roof. An absolute 
solitude must settle along the marble tombs and into the 
shadowy, recesses. There must be no sounds but those faint, 
ceaseless, unearthly whispers of which every large cathedraP 
is full sighs, as it were, of the weary centuries, more stilly 
and enchaining than utter silence. Some definite object 
must be before us to hold the mind above the airy fancies 
of such a loneliness ; some brass to be copied ; some Templar 
to sketch and measure in his chain-mail (which the younger 
Stothard sketched so deliciously), as he lies stark along the 
dark, time-gnawn marble, or crouching in the panel of a 
crumbling tomb; or archives to search, and worm-eaten 
parchments to unroll, among earthy odours. It is after 
months of such experience as this that we begin to realise 
the dreadful beauty, the high majesty, of Gothic shrines and 
their clinging soul of imagination the soul of many, not of 
one of the ages, not of years. Mr. Gilchrist thinks it just 
possible that Blake may have seen the secret re-opening of 
the coffin which revealed the face of Edward I., and the 
' yellow eyelids fallen,' which dropped so sternly over his 
angry* eyes at Carlisle. In Blake's angels and women and, 
indeed, in most of his figures, we may see the abiding influ- 
ence of these mediaeval studies in that element of patriarchal 
quietude which sits meditating among the wildest storms of 

The style of Basire laid the foundation of Blake's own 
practice as an engraver. It was dry and solid, and fitted for 
the realisation of strong and abstract pictorial thinking * * * 
In order to a right view of Blake's organisation, we must 
from the first bear in mind that he was a poetic thinker, who 
held in his hands two instruments of utterance and ' with 


such a pencil, such a pen/ few mortals were ever gifted. The 
combination of high literary power with high pictorial power 
is one of the rarest endowments, and it is only among the 
loftiest order of minds the Michael Angelos, the Leonardos, 
and the Raffaelles that its presence is eminently distin- 
guishable, though by them held in check. 

The superb original strength of faculty to which the in- 
strument is an accident, and which is able to work in any 
field, seems to be among Heaven's rarest gifts. *.,, ... 

Of Blake's conditions and limitations as a general thinker 
we shall have afterwards to speak. Thought with him leaned 
largely to the side of imagery rather than to the, side of 
organised philosophy ; and we shall have to be on our guard, 
while reading the record of his views and opinions, against 
the dogmatism which was more frequently based on exalted 
fancies than on the rock of abiding reason and truth. He 
never dreamed of questioning the correctness of his im- 
pressions. To him all thought came with the clearness and 
veracity of vision. The conceptive faculty, working with a 
perception of outward facts singularly narrow and imperfect, 
projected every idea boldly into the sphere of the actual. 
What he thought, he saw, to all intents and purposes ; and it 
was this sudden and sharp crystallisation of inward notions 
into outward and visible signs which produced the impression 
on many beholders, that reason was unseated a surmise 
which his biographer regards so seriously as to devote a 
chapter to the consideration of the question * Mad or not 
mad?' If we say on this point at once that, without 
attempting definitions and distinctions, and while holding 
his substantial genius in the highest esteem, having long 
studied both his character and his works, we cannot but, 
on the whole, lean to the opinion that, somewhere in the 
wonderful compound of flesh and spirit somewhere in those 
recesses where the one runs into the other- he was 'slightly 
touched,' we shall save ourselves the necessity of attempting 
to defend certain phases of his work, while maintaining an 

Y 2 


unqualified admiration for the mass and manner of his 

Blake's reply to ' Old Moser's ' recommendation to study 
Le Brun and Rubens rather than Michael Angelo and 
Raffaelle gives us an insight into his temper and the strong 
combative modes of expression which, delivered in quiet 
tones, for the most part characterised him through life. 
1 These things that you call finished are not even begun ; how 
' then can they be finished ? The man who does not know 
1 the beginning cannot know the end of art.' And the view 
he here took of pictorial appliances explains most of the 
theory which embraces his highest excellences and his 
greatest defects. The living model artificially posed, to his 
sensitive fancy ' smelt of mortality.' ' Practice and oppor- 

* tunity,' he said, * very soon teach the language of art. Its 
'spirit and poetry centred in the imagination alone never 
' can be taught ; and these make the artist.' And again, a 
still more frank and, to some minds, fatal confession, made 
in old age, was this : * Natural objects always did and 
'do weaken, deaden, and obliterate imagination in me.' 
And yet, lest this should tend to lower the reader's interest 
in the faculty of the painter, let us indulge ourselves by 
quoting the motto selected for this biography, to show the 
magnificent way in which he 'lights his torch at Nature's 
funeral pile : ' ' I assert for myself that I do not behold 
' the outward creation, and that, to me, it is hindrance and 
' not action. " What," it will be questioned, " when the 
' sun rises, do you not see a round disc of fire, somewhat like 

* a guinea ? " Oh no, no S I see an innumerable company 

* of the heavenly host crying, " Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord 
' God Almighty ! " I question not my corporeal eye, any 
' more than I would question a window concerning a sight. 
1 1 look through it and not with it.' 

One is reminded, here, of the more solemn adjudication of 
the relative claims of mystery and understanding given by 
St. Paul to the Corinthian Church. He does not deny the 


validity of the mystery, yet expresses the strong views of a 
man of practical power. ' I would rather speak five words 
' with my understanding, that I might teach ethers also, than 
' ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.' We confess 
that we can never glance at the wild mysteries of Thel and 
Urizen and Jerusalem without a frequent recurrence of this 
somewhat depreciatory phrase, ' ten thousand words in an 
' unknown tongue ; ' and while acknowledging that ' howbeit 
4 in the spirit he speaketh mysteries,' being strongly disposed 
to advance our sling- stone of 'five' against the Goliath of 
' ten thousand.' It seems to us, also, that there is something 
misleading in the vague use of the words 'practice and 
opportunity.' The value of the old phrase 'practice makes 
perfect,' depends on what we mean by practice ; as we take 
it, it means the doing again and again of the same kind of 
thing till we do it rightly ; and opportunity is here to be 
understood as the presentation of appropriate and available 
means. Form, colour, light and shade, and composition, are 
the dictionary, the syntax, and the prosody of painting. 
The thought, the central idea of the picture, corresponds to 
its realisation, as thinking in words does to grammar. If 
dictionaries are of no use, and grammar has no relation to 
thought, then the details of the human or any other form 
have no relation to painting. Indeed, to deny this is to 
create a ridiculous paradox, which one may readily illustrate 
from the works of Blake himself. What his inner eye may 
see in the rising sun it is not for us to determine, but he 
has drawn most pathetically in the drama of Job both rising 
and retreating suns. It is true that he has not made them 
about the size of ' a guinea,' rather their arc spans the 
gloomy horizon like a rainbow ; but it is the segment of a 
circle why did he not draw it square or pyramidal ? In 
order to draw at all he was obliged to conform at least to 
one fact of nature ; and, so far as he followed her at all, she 
did not ' put him out,' as Fuseli affirmed that nature did 
for him likewise. The case in which he has carried realistic 


idealism to its utmost verge is perhaps in the strange design 
called ' The Ghost of a Flea ; ' but examine the features of 
the ghost, and say if, for material, he is not indebted first to 
the baser and more truculent lines of the human skull and 
nose, and eye and hair, and then to those insect-like elements 
which he had observed in the plated beetle and the curious 
fly. The solemn boundaries of form become ridiculous 
when they wander without enclosing some expressive fact 
visible to the eye either in heaven above or in earth beneath, 
and the question only remains, How much of this array of 
fact is needful adequately to convey the given idea? Jan 
Van Huysum would here pronounce a judgment entirely at 
the opposite pole from that of William Blake ; and there 
is no surer mark of the true connoisseur than to be able 
to put himself 'en rapport' with the designer, and to judge 
at once his aim and the degree in which it has been realised. 
It would introduce a dangerous axiom to say that, in pro- 
portion to the grandeur and unearthliness of a thought, the 
aid of common facts is less needed ; it entirely depends on 
what idea and what facts are in question. As applied to the 
human form, and to the highest idealisations of it yet known, 
and never to be surpassed, it would repay the reader who 
can see the collections of Michael Angelo's drawings at 
Oxford, to observe with what grand reverence and timidity 
that learned pencil dwelt on the most minute expressions of 
detail, from the crown of the head to the sole of the foot; 
and it was this abundant learning which enabled the far- 
stretching soul of the mighty Florentine to avoid and to 
eliminate, amongst a hundred details, all those lines and 
forms which would not accord with the brooding and colossal 
majesty of his prophets, the frowning eagerness of his sibyls, 
the cosmic strength of the first father, or the waving beauty 
of the mother of us all. A leading principle in Blake's 
design was that ' a good and firm outline ' is its main re- 
quisite. The claims of colour versus drawing, are not 
very fully opened out by his practice. Most of his works 


were of a kind that singularly divided these elements. 
Such of his productions as are most delightful in 
colour are comparatively rude and heavy in outline and 
where his line is most sharp and masterly, the element of 
colour is nearly or altogether absent. His colour, again, was 
not so much an imitative as a purely decorative agent. The 
question as to whether the highest qualities of colour are 
compatible with the highest qualities of form, seems to us to 
be not so much a matter of abstract possibility as of actual 
and personal practice. Tintoretto proposed to unite the 
' terrible manner ' and grand drawing of Michael Angelo to 
the colour of Titian. There seems no reason in the nature of 
these two elements why they should not be united in the 
highest perfection ; whether any genius will arise who will 
succeed in doing this remains to be seen. Colour is to draw- 
ing what music is to rhythmic words. It is not under every 
set of conditions that music can be ' married to immortal 
verse ' with success. Much depends upon the auditory 
much on the apprehension of the musician. There are 
delights of the eye in colour alone which fully correspond 
to the delights of melody alone. We may see in so common 
an object as an old garden-wall and in the compass of a 
dozen moss-grown or lichen-stained bricks, with the irregular, 
intervening mortar-lines, such hues and harmonies as will, for 
a while, give to the trained eye the same delight as a happy 
air of music gives to the instructed ear. No two red bricks 
are alike. Some deepen into rich and mottled purples, others 
kindle into ruddy orange, or subside into greys of the loveliest 
gradation. These accidental combinations of time-stain and 
emerald moss-growth with the cloudy hues of the irregular, 
brick wall, are sufficient of themselves to satisfy an eye open to 
perceive and understand them. In painting we may observe 
all manner of pleasant sophistries, which it is a fine holiday 
amusement to disentangle arising from these subtle and inde- 
finable relations of the pleasures of colour to the pleasures of 
form. How often we receive especially among the smaller and 


more sketchy examples of landscape art, the most bewitching 
impressions from this sophistical play of the elements into 
each other. Translate some of the sketches labelled ' Evening ' 
or ' Solitude/ into black and white, and their glory would 
sink into a compost of rude forms, gloomy and incorrect, 
quite incapable of existing alone. Add the daring tints the 
sombre greens, the purples, clouded with fluent ultramarine, 
the red bands of fire seen between dark tree stems, the amber 
seas of air, or * that green light which lingers in the West ' 
and you are so far imposed upon that you do not dream of 
questioning the legality of the magic which, by its very 
intensification of mutual and interchangeable errors, produces 
on the mind the same sensation wrought on it when behold- 
ing the splendid shows of the landscape itself. We are far 
from believing that the rule and square of mere literal truth 
can be rigidly applied to human reproductions of nature. 
The difficulty of analysing the great equations and com- 
pensatory powers of art will ever make it an interesting 
subject of pursuit to the human race. It is a sea whose 
horizon fades 

' For ever and for ever as we move.' 

Even when colour is used in the engraver's sense of black 
and white alone, these comminglings, as mystic as twilight, 
retain their power over the eye and fancy. Opposite to page 
320, vol. i. of Blake's Life, there are three woodcuts which 
fully illustrate our meaning. They were done to ornament 
the Pastorals of Virgil, edited by Dr. Thornton, and are of a 
degree of rudeness apparently verging on incapacity. Yet 
we would venture to ask any competent judge whether an 
effect in a high degree poetic is not produced by the total 
sentiment of the design. To our eye they seem to contain a 
germ of that grandeur and sense of awe and power of land- 
scape which, in some of his works, John Linn ell has carried 
out so finely, where dawn-lights dream over tranquil folds, or 
evening slowly leaves the valley flock to the peace of night. 


And so we have these three grand, but uncouth, blocks printed 
before us in one of which the shepherd is eloquent among 
the ewes and sucking lambs another where a traveller walks 
solemnly on among the hills, alone while in a third ' the 
young moon with the old moon in her arms,' rises over fallen 
ranks of wheat Thought cannot fathom the secret of their 
power, and yet the power is there. 

Blake's reverence for ' a firm and determinate outline ' misled 
him chiefly where his works are intended to be elaborately 
shaded. The importance of right outline to all noble drawing 
cannot be over-estimated. It must never be forgotten, how- 
ever, that outline only represents the surface of objects in 
their extreme confines right and left, above and below, nor 
that the eye recognises the intermediate spaces with all their 
projection and depression as clearly as it sees the limit which 
is called outline. 

To take a simple illustration of this. The outline of an egg, 
with its lovely tapering lines, is primarily needful to record the 
image of an egg on paper or canvas. If Flaxman draws 
the egg from which Castor and Pollux issued, the oval 
boundary is sufficient. It is accepted as a type of the egg, 
just as the flat figures of his designs from Homer or Hesiod 
are accepted as the types of men. But the case is altered 
if the relief of the whole has to be given by shading. An egg 
all outline in the midst of a shaded design would look as 
flat as a small oval kite. To produce its proportion of 
resemblance the outline must be filled with its pale moon- 
shine gradations up to the central 'high light,' by means of 
which the surface appears to swell forward to the eye. These 
gradations and shaded forms must be in their true place as 
much as the bounding line, or it will not yield the correct 
impression. If we apply this rule to each single feature of 
the human face and figure, we shall see that, while the firm 
and decided outline must be given correctly, it is only a 
hundredth part of the truth. Each point of the surface of 


the body, if turned sufficiently, would become outline, and 
indeed there is no portion of the exposed superficies which 
may not be called outline in this sense. It is owing to 
a one-sided view of the question of drawing, then, that we 
have to search among the often uncouth and broken shading 
in the plates of Blake, for that powerful and accurate 
outline which we are sure, almost universally, to find.* * * 
It was a fortunate circumstance for Blake, in a professional 
sense, that he had no children. In many cases, the necessities 
of a family rouse and develop the resources of the parent 
mind and discover means of support where none appeared. 
This would have been impossible with such a nature as 
Blake's. He might have drudged and slaved at prosaic work 
with the graver, and so have been prevented from finding 
his own sphere as an inventor, but he could not have made 
his works a whit more acceptable to the general taste. He 
needed no spur; his powers were always awake, always on 
the stretch ; and we have, probably, from his hand all that 
could ever have been obtained under the most favourable 
circumstances. Many a man is depressed by poverty and 
anxiety below the level of his secret capacities. It was not so 
here. The last touches of his steady graving tool are as cool 
and strong in the latest of his works as in the earliest. 
It was not in the power of neglect, or pain, or sickness, 
or age, or infirmity, to quench a vital force so native and so 
fervent * * * 

Blake engraved from Stothard and others for the magazines ; 
mortified, sometimes, to see that his own designs had been 
the foundation, so he said, of the subject he engraved ; indeed, 
Fuseli himself acknowledged that ' Blake was good to steal 
from/ We may understand the force of this saying, if we 
only look at a design of early date by Blake, called ' Plague/ 
engraved in the volume we are reviewing. An inexorable, 
severe grandeur pervades the general lines ; an inexplicable 
woe, as of Samaria in the deadly siege, when Joram, wandering 


on the walls, was obliged to listen to the appeal of the 
cannibal mother, hangs over it ; a sense of tragic culmination, 
the stroke of doom irreversible, comes through the windows 
of the eyes, as they take in the straight black lines of the 
pall and bier, the mother falling from her husband's embrace 
with her dying child ; one fair corpse scarcely earthed over 
in the foreground, and the black funereal reek of a distant 
fire, which consumes we know not what difficult horror. It 
is enough to fire the imagination of the greatest historical 
painter. And yet the manner is so dry, so common, even 
so uninteresting, and so unlikely to find its way to * every 
drawing room-table,' that a man of accomplishments and 
appreciative powers, but without the ' vision and the faculty 
divine/ would be sorely tempted to 'convey' the thinking 
to his own canvas, and array it in forms more attractive to 
the taste, without being haunted by the fear of his theft being 
speedily recognised. 

When he was a little over thirty years of age Blake collected 
and published one of his sweetest and most original works, 
The Songs of Innocence, engraving the poem in a singular 
way with delightful designs on copper. These plates, a 
remnant of which we have had the good fortune to see, are 
somewhat like rude, deep-cut casts in copper, from engraved 
wood blocks. They were drawn on the copper with some 
thick liquid, impervious to acid ; the plate was then immersed 
in aquafortis, and ' bitten ' away, so that the design remained 
in relief. These he printed with his own hand, in various tones 
of brown, blue, and grey, tinting them afterwards by hand 
into a sort of rainbow-coloured, innocent page, in which the 
thrilling music of the verse, and the gentle bedazzlement of 
the lines and colours so intermingle, that the mind hangs in 
a pleasant uncertainty as to whether it is a picture that is 
singing, or a song which has newly budded and blossomed 
into colour and form. All is what the title imports ; and 
though they have been, of late years, frequently quoted, and 


lose half their sweetness away from the embowering leaves 
and tendrils which clasp them, running gaily in and out among 
the lines, we cannot but gratify ourselves and our readers 
with one light peal of the fairy bells : 

Sweet dreams form a shade 
O'er my lovely infant's head, 
Sweet dreams of pleasant streams, 
By happy, silent, moony beams. 

' Sweet sleep, with soft down 
Weave thy brows an infant crown I 
Sweet sleep, angel mild, 
Hover o'er my happy child ! 

* Sweet smiles, in the night 
Hover over my delight ! 
Sweet smiles, mother's smile, 
All the livelong night beguile ! 

* Sweet moans, dovelike sighs, 
Chase not slumber from thine eyes 1 
Sweet moan, sweeter smile 
All the dovelike moans beguile 1 

* Sleep, sleep, happy child 1 
All creation slept and smiled. 
Sleep, sleep, happy sleep ! 
While o'er thee doth mother weep. 

' Sweet babe, in thy face 
Holy image I can trace ; 
Sweet babe, once like thee 
Thy Maker lay, and wept for me ! ' 


This is the tone of them ; there are many such strains as 
these that deserve to be much better known than they are, 
notwithstanding the bad grammar that mingles with their 
innocent music. There is 'a serene unconsciousness of arbi- 
trary human law in genius such as this ; it floats with the 
lark in a ' privacy of glorious light/ where the grammatical 
hum of the critics cannot disturb its repose. We are reminded 
of the startling question of the Yorkshire orator when re- 
pudiating the bonds 'of syntax and pronunciation, ' Who 
invented grammar I shotdd like to know ? I've as much right 
to invent grammar as any of them ! ' Whatever we might 
concede to the Yorkshire orator, we may readily agree not 
to be inexorably severe in the application of our canons to 
the productions of such a genius as that of Blake. 

There is one design given in this book which affects the 
eye wonderfully, where huge intertwisted trunks writhe up 
one side of the page, while on the other springs, apparently, 
Jack's immortal laddered beanstalk, aiming at heaven ; 
between the two, on the blank white sky, hang mystical 
verses, and below is a little vision of millennial rest. Naked 
children sport with the lion and ride the lioness in playful 
domination, while secure humanity sleeps at ease among 

Yet Blake had a difficult and repulsive phase in his 
character. It seems a pity that men so amiable and tender, 
so attractive to one's desire for fellowship, should prove, on 
close contact, to have a side of their nature so adamantine 
and full of self-assertion and resistance, that they are driven 
at last to dwell in the small circle of friends who have the 
forbearance to excuse their peculiarities, and the wit to 
interpret their moods and minds : 

'Nor is it possible to thought 
A greater than itself to know.' 

In this sphinx-like and musical couplet, Blake himself hits 
the true basis of the reason why men whose genius is at once 


so sweet, so strong, and so unusual, are largely overlooked 
during life, and are difficult of exposition when the fluctua- 
tions and caprices of life no longer interfere to prevent a 
fair estimate of their powers and performances. 

After these exquisite poems, which come nearest to the 
universal heart, Blake struck off, on his own strange wings, 
into regions where we will not attempt to follow him. Those 
who wish to see what may be said for the scope and design 
of the series of Blake's illustrated mysteries may consult 
Mr. Swinburne's inquiries into, and eloquent comments on, 
them. For our own part, their chief value seems to us to 
consist in fragments of astonishing pictorial invention which 
they contain, hints and indications of which are given in fac- 
simile in these profusely illustrated volumes. There can be 
no question that the first impression produced by them is, 
that they are the production of a madman of superb genius ; 
and this impression is so strong that few people would be 
persuaded to do more than glance at what would confirm 
their judgment. Here is one of those firm questions which 
the man whose mind is unbalanced will ask with un- 
flinching eye. He is talking familiarly to Isaiah. 'Does 
a firm persuasion that a thing is so, make it so ? ' What 
an entangling preliminary question before he ventures 
to slip the leash of some * subjective ' horror. ' I was in 
a printing-house in hell.' What a nonchalant, passing intro- 
duction to a subject. ' My friend the angel climbed up from 
his station into the mill.' Here is the easy way in which he 
treats principalities and powers. ' So the angel said, " Thy 
phantasy has imposed upon me; and thou oughtest to be 
ashamed." I answered, "We impose on one another, and it 
is but lost time to converse with you, whose works are only 
analytics." ' Here is a man, not exactly a fool, who ' rushes 
in where angels fear to tread/ and snaps his finger in their 
faces. There is no wonder if ordinary civilians found such 
a ' customer ' to be difficult to get on with. And yet an un- 
conquerable indifference to his transcendental philosophy does 


not in the least interfere with our veneration of the artist, as 
such. We hold that the ' creative ' and the ' critical ' faculties 
are seldom found in close and powerful alliance and that, often, 
in proportion to the intensity and energy of the former, is 
the dormancy, if not the incapacity, of the latter. In the 
procession of his own labours, the artist unconsciously selects 
or rejects. He is conscious that deep, down in the laws of 
thought, his justification is to be found, but he has neither 
time nor inclination to become a pearl diver, when the riches 
of the 

' Eternal deep 
Haunted for ever by the Eternal mind,' 

come and pour themselves, unsought, at his feet. A life of 
analysis and reconstruction he leaves to others, and he is the 
happiest painter or singer who leaves the philosophies 

1 On Argive heights divinely sung,' 

to the Argives ; that is to say, so far as any practical inter- 
meddling with them is concerned. Even if he be capable 
of entering the region, he acts most wisely who follows Mr. 
Ruskin's short advice to a painter, ' Fit yourself for the best 
company and keep out of it.' As to any serious consideration 
of Blake's vocation to teach aught of morals ; of theology, or 
non-theology ; of Christian Atheism, or Atheistic Christianity ; 
we, with ' the volume of the Book/ which ' is written,' in our 
hands ' calmly, but firmly and finally/ on a general glance 
at the tone and tenor of these portentous scrolls of Thel 
and Urizen, these Marriages of Heaven and Hell, which 
would look blasphemous if we did not tenderly recollect by 
whom they were written, refuse any serious further investiga- 
tion of their claims, and must dismiss them, not scornfully, 
though it may be sorrowfully. We regard them rather as we 
regard the gentle or exalted incoherences of a dear friend's 
delirium; for our theory of the mental structure of Blake 
renders them as harmless to us as his gentle Songs of 


Innocence: but on this ground we dismiss them repeating 
the words before applied to them, only with no anger or 
disdain that they are ' Ten thousand words in an unknown 
tongue! But not shelving nor ignoring the illuminated pages 
themselves ; their inventive power remains, and they may be 
regarded as a repository of winged arid fiery imagery which 
will be useful to us in our attempts to realise things invisible, 
in so far as the elements of matter may bridge over for our 
conceptive faculties the gulfs between the seen and unseen ; 
and in so far as they may be made to illustrate phases of 
thought to which they were not, in the first instance, intended 
to apply. There are many such designs, and we are thankful 
to see the woodcuts in Chapter XII. given as specimens of 
what we mean. Take them one by one, suppose no further 
relation than each has to its significant title, and we are wholly 
satisfied. We will not say how often, and with what fine 
effect, one of these rude but noble squares enters before 
the inner eye, and allies itself with the current stream 
of thought. 

1 Alas ! ' that is the simple title of one of them, a boy 
chasing winged loves, which he kills with his catching ; need 
we move farther to seek our goal of meaning ? ' What is 
Man f ' That caterpillar, huge and spectral, crawling over 
the oak leaf under which the baby-faced chrysalis lies, expect- 
ing its life and its wings to be ' crushed before the moth ' 
in due time. Can we not find our own sufficient application 
of such a wondrous image? 'I want! I want!' Here is 
' the globe's last verge ' which both Dryden and Blake 
contrived (but with. very different faculties and success) to 
see ; where, according to Dryden, we may behold ' the ocean 
leaning on the sky.' Here Blake, on this hint, boldly heaves 
his ladder to the hollow bosom of ' our rolling neighbour/ 
the crescent moon, and begins to climb, fearless as Blondin, 
and cross the star-sown abyss to satisfy his ' want. ' So with 
each of these precious little bold and grand designs the last 
of which is almost appalling. A white, unearthly figure with 



a wand a figure neither large nor small, for it is of no size 
to the judgment and imagination cowers and stares beneath 
the root of a forest oak ; a huge worm winds round before 
her feet, and the inscription is ' I have said to the worm, Thou 
art my mother and my sister' Surely, any one who ever sat 
awestruck over the Book of Job, and heard the ' deep sad 
music of humanity ' coming on the long-drawn gust of time 
from those lands of Uz, would feel that here was one worthy 
and sufficient interpretation of the idea of the verse, and of 
those other kindred upbreathings from the grave, and wailings 
of the haunted ' house appointed for all living,' of which the 
early chapters of the Book of Job are full. 

Laying aside these works as philosophies or preachings, and 
returning upon them as strange pictures intended for the 
informing of the imagination through the eye, it is impossible 
to put into words the delight and restless wonder they excite. 
We invite the reader to turn to page 109 vol. i. and the 
opposite page, which is a fac-simile of one of Blake's leaves 
from America, reduced but by an unerring 'photo- 
lithographic ' process to half the size, and printed as nearly 
as possible in the colour used as a groundwork for his hand- 
tinting so that we are looking, in fact, at an autograph. 
Study carefully the design on the upper part of the left-hand 
page. By a sheer breadth of black, sharply contrasted with 
the white page, there is, by some inexplicable magic, conveyed 
the impression of a space in the upper skies, where coming 
we know and care not whence, and hasting we know not 
whither is a wild swan, bridled and mounted by an elf, into 
whose history and significance we shall never trouble our- 
selves to inquire. But we appeal to the intelligent observer 
whether that design does not kindle the page into a silver 
light, and hasten the spirits into a breezy swiftness of enjoy- 
lent, and strike the harp of memory within him, making 
lim, perhaps, recall the fine image, in the ' Palace of Art ' 

1 For as the wild swan wings to where the sky 
Dipt down to sea and sands.' 


It is in this, as in ten thousand other ways, that the pencil 
becomes the gorgeous sister and handmaiden of the poet's 
pen, kindling into inciting suggestion his flying images, and 
doubling the value of his priceless words. The eye is irresis- 
tibly drawn below to the bottom of the page ; and what a 
rich and rare sense of visual joy comes as we see that serpent 
'dragon of the prime,' coming carelessly from nowhere, 
and going, by shining cloud and crescent and sparkling star, 
into the emptiness of night, his tail curled, against all nature, 
into a writing-master's flourish, his sole apparent object being 
to oblige three merry fairies with a morning ride ! We pray 
you look at his eye and mouth ! How he enjoys the fun, 
and what a large reserve of cunning meaning there is all over 
his corrugated face as he puts out his forked tongue, most 
probably at the metaphysicians, or, however ungratefully, 
at Blake's manuscript itself. Turn to the other page from 
America. Its relations to the great Republic seem remote to 
the sense. Yet in the ' tall talk ' in the centre of the design 
the strong and terribly bloodshot tone of which is greatly 
subdued by the pretty little twirls and twiddles into which its 
letters run we see a foreshadowing of at least an accusation 
against America ; and in the capacity of the genii, who 
weigh all creation in their own scales, and fly away with the 
sword of the earth, and fling world-powers into the void as 
easily as Athamas dashed Learchus in pieces, and who 
perform Blondin feats on ' Serpents of Eternity,' instead of 
tight-ropes, between spires of rushing flame, ascending out of 
the abyss, we see allusions closer than we might at first 
suppose to the ' greatest people on the face of the earth.' 
Yet their chief value does not lie in this. It is the 
mysterious fascination of ' line ' the mingling of creative 
might and child-like play the astonishing power which 
dark and strongly imprinted curves can give ' lucus a non 
lucendo ' the sense of flashing flame the power to ' make 
black seem white/- which so enchains and half stupefies the 
fancy. As a specific example of this, look at what we may 


call 'the prophecy of Blondin,' the Herculean tumbler on the 
Serpent of Eternity. How amazingly grand the lines! 
Carve it in onyx, and have we not an antique gem of the 
first water, Phidias and Michael Angelo in little ? Yet pass 
below the giant acrobat's elbow, and Michael Angelo subsides 
into a schoolboy finishing his little theme with an innocent 
flourish. This is Blake all over. Now he is a Titan hurling 
rocks at the gods now a chubby boy toddling to the 
infant-school and singing his pretty, echoing song. 

Besides these books and 'prophecies,' Blake made many 
designs of a separate or serial kind, and found in Mr. Butts a 
kind, steadfast, and appreciative patron. For nearly thirty 
years the modest, simple-living Blake found a constant 
resource in this worthy friend's patronage. It is a beautiful 
picture of his typical life of Arcadian simplicity and suffi- 
ciency to see this plain liver and high thinker taking his 
weekly design to sell for a very moderate price, and returning 
to dream, and draw, and engrave in his own humble home. 
Out of this simple life issued, in 1794, the Songs of Experience. 
Flaxman used to exclaim, ' Sir, his poems are as grand as his 
pictures;' and Wordsworth 'read them with delight.' Yet 
words do not tell the half of Blake's poems do not reveal 
half the man. Some pieces will bear separation from the 
rainbow pages on which they originally appeared ; others, and 
most of them, lose half their thrill and motion when 
enchained in the printer's ' forme.' When the brown poem 
and rough ground-lines of the design were stamped on the 
rough paper by the rude press, then his lyrical fingers, playing 
with the prisms of water-colour, washed and touched all over 
them in a way not to be described poem and picture twined 
fondly round each other, in a bath of colour and light, 
refusing to be separated. So that he who is to understand 
Blake must be admitted to the penetralia where such sights 
are to be seen. Not that he had any special aim at excep- 
tional seclusion. ' Come in ' he would say, ' it is only Adam 
and Eve,' as in an anecdote narrated at length by Mr. 

z 2 


Gilchrist, which adds another proof of our theory that a 
veil of innocent unreason spread its haze over one side of 
his nature. Surely by this time the little poem which 

'Tiger, tiger, burning bright 
In the forests of the night,' 

and which Charles Lamb called ' glorious/ is pretty well known, 
as also the song beginning 

1 Piping down the valleys wild.' 

The exceeding delicacy and sweetness of some separate verses 
in his poems convey that sense of enchantment which Scott 
describes as coming over him at any recurrence of the stanza 

' The dews of summer night did fall, 
The moon, sweet regent of the sky, 
Silvered the walls of Cumnor Hall, 
And many an oak that grew thereby.' 

It is hard to say in what this happy quality consists. To our 
own mind there is something of it in a song by Bulwer in the 
Last Days of Pompeii, beginning, 

'By the cool banks where soft Cephisus flows, 
A voice sailed trembling down the waves of air.' 

To which Blake's 'Song to the Muses/ might have given the 
key-note : 

'Whether on Ida's shady brow, 

Or in the chambers of the East, 
The chambers of the sun that now 

From ancient melody have ceased ; 

'Whether in Heaven ye wander fair, 

Or the green corners of the earth. 
Or the blue regions of the air, 

Where the melodious winds have birth ; 

POEMS. 341 

'Whether on crystal rocks ye rove 
Beneath the bosom of the sea, 
Wandering in many a coral grove ; 
Fair Nine, forsaking Poetry; 

'How have you left the ancient love 

That bards of old enjoy 'd in you 1 
The languid strings do scarcely move, 
The sound is forced, the notes are few.' 

There is this ineffable charm of scenery and sound in 
these lines from ' Night ' : 

' Farewell, green fields and happy grove, 

Where flocks have ta'en delight ; 
Where lambs have nibbled, silent move 
The feet of angels bright ; 
Unseen, they pour blessing, 
And joy without ceasing, 
On each bud and blossom, 
And each sleeping bosom. 

' They look in every thoughtless nest, 

Where birds are covered warm ; 
They visit caves of every beast, 
To keep them all from harm : 
If they see any weeping 
That should have been sleeping, 
They pour sleep on their head, 
And sit down by their bed.' 

The same simple and tender mood of soul that originated 
such child-melodies as ' Gentle Jesus, meek and mild/ which 
brings tears down the cheeks of the ruggedest sailor, and has 
touched the secret fount of tears in many an unconfessing 
heart, handled this ' rural pen ' and ' stained that water clear ' 
and wrote that happy song 

"* Every child shall joy to hear.' 


To such influences grown men, also, do well to keep open their 
souls ; for Blake in his ' Auguries of Innocence,' writes 

' He who mocks the infant's faith 
Shall be mock'd in age and death.' 

There is so much pleasure in copying out some of these frag- 
ments that we are tempted to linger a little longer over them. 
The silver Shakespearean song of ' Take, O take those lips 
away ! ' has always sounded like a honey-laden breeze of 
Hymettus. There is the same nameless spell in these words 
of Blake, rolled sweetly on each other as the rose-leaves 
curl toward the heart of the rose : 

1 Never seek to tell thy love, 
Love that never told can be, 
For the gentle wind doth move 
Silently, invisibly.' 

Here are two stanzas, not so remarkable for their pure 
melody, but containing a wonderfully felicitous image : 

1 Mock on, mock on, Voltaire, Rousseau, 
Mock on, mock on ; 'tis all in vain ; 

You throw the sand against the wind, 
And the wind blows it back again. 

' And every sand becomes a gem 

Reflected in the beams divine ; 
Blown back, they blind the mocking eye, 
But still in Israel's paths they shine.' 

In a motto prefixed to the 'Auguries of Innocence/ he 
expresses that power which is given to genuine imagination, 
and which so distinctively separates it from the rest of the 
faculties, or rather enables it both to use, and master, and 
transcend them all the power 

' To see a world in a grain of sand, 
And a heaven in a wild flower, 
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, 
And eternity in an hour.' 


Thus we are led on by their alluring sweetness, as we are led 
from bush to bush by the piping of a bird of unusual note 
and brilliant plumage. 

But our material swells beyond expectation, and we must 
return to Blake's history. * * * While the designs to The 
Grave were in execution, Blake got hold of a magnificent 
subject, of which Cromek had the wit to feel the value. 

Out of the whole range of modern literature no more pic- 
turesque, ample, or central theme could be discovered than 
the Canterbury Pilgrimage of Chaucer. A fine passage from 
the hand of the discoverer of this admirable subject, in what 
seems to us the best prose document remaining from his pen, 
shows the dignity of the conception. [See p. 143.] 

The Canterbury Pilgrimage of Blake is, we regret to say, 
on the whole, a failure, in our judgment, as to execution. 
The conception and composition are stately and strong. It 
might be taken from an early fresco in some 'Campo 
Santo.' But the horses, which he says ' he has varied 
according to their riders/ are so variously like what the 
Trojan horse might be, and so liable to be thought like what 
the less epic rocking-horse usually is there is such a portrait- 
like grim stare on all the faces such a grotesque and im- 
probable quality about the ' Wife of Bath/ who is something 
between a jewelled Hindoo idol and the ugly Madonna of a 
wayside shrine that we cannot help feeling how, in spite of 
a hundred redeeming virtues of strength and grandeur, all 
the effort in the world would fail to recommend it to the 
general eye. Yet, as a quaint, ' most ancient/ and delightful 
ornament for a dim oaken staircase, we recommend its 
purchase to all who can by any means procure a copy of it, 

Blake's designs from Blair's poem, The Grave, were dedi- 
cated to the Queen of England as 

' What I have borne on solemn wing 
From the vast regions of the grave. 

These words are truthful enough. 


As the book is more readily to be seen than any other of 
Blake's works, we will not here speak of them in extenso ; 
but we cannot help feeling, as we write, the wave of that 
' solemn wing/ nor seeing, far stretching into the dimness of 
oblivion, the sights which Blake unveiled in those 'vast 
regions of the grave.' ' Kings and counsellors of the earth, 
which built desolate places for themselves ; and princes that 
had gold, and filled their houses with silver/ lying side by 
side, with awful, open gaze, in the dusky silence, waiting for 
the Crumpet of final awaking. Infancy, youth, manhood, and 
age, trooping hurriedly downward into the bleak darkness and 
1 monumental caves of death.' The huge, Herculean struggle 
of ' the wicked strong man ' against the victorious impalpable 
' shadow with the keys ; ' the sweet ' soul hovering over the 
body ; ' the pictured realisation of Burns's tender wish a 
family found at last 

' No wanderer lost 
A family in heaven;" 

above all, that elevating vision worthy of the Sistine roof 
where Age, 'a-leaning on his crutch/ is driven by the last 
stress of the furious tempest of life into the Gate of Death ; 
but where, overhead, ' young and lusty as the eagle/ the new- 
born, immortal, worshipping man of the skies kneels in the 
radiance of the supernal sun of eternity. This book was, 
indeed, a fit overture to that still greater oratorio of Job, with 
which, as if accompanied by a mighty Miltonic organ, the 
master virtually concluded his pictured lays. 

It is to the thoughtful, self-denying kindness of the venerable 
John Linnell that we owe the production of the Illustration 
of the Book of Job. Will it be believed that Blake was 
nearly seventy years old when this marvellous series of 
designs was commenced ? Before being permitted to handle 
its solemn pages, every spectator ought to be forewarned and 
instructed that these designs are the latest products of a hand 
growing stiff with age, and verging on immortality ; and 
should approach them with something of the reverence with 


which the young ought to ' rise up before the grey hairs. 
It is true that the drawings for the series were made when he 
was in the vigour of life. But every line of these plates was 
cut directly by the patient, wrinkled hand. He was poor, 
though contented, at this period of life. He had struggled 
through years of shameful and Boeotian neglect into the valley 
of age and decline. Even his patron, Mr. Butts, was alienated 
from him. The Royal Academy had given him a grant of 
2$ out of its funds, showing that want was endeavouring to 
stare him out of countenance. At this juncture John Linnell 
stepped forward and gave the commission, at his own risk, for 
the execution of these designs from the Book of Job. In 
pleasant little instalments of from 2 to $ per week was the 
simple and frugal Old Master paid, while, day by day, the 
sharp graver cut these immortal lines. 

At this time he was like a simple stoic philosopher, sur- 
rounded, in his one room in Fountain Court, Strand (how 
very strange a place for such a work ! one would have 
thought them rather to have been graven among the moun- 
tains and Druidic cairns), by a little band of loving disciples, 
some of whom are amongst us at this day two at least well 
known to fame George Richmond, the eminent portrait- 
painter, and Samuel Palmer, whose profoundly poetic water- 
colour landscapes are still to be seen, year by year, on the 
walls of ' The Old Water-Colour Society.' No profits were 
realised by the engravings their sale hardly covering expenses. 
The price of Paradise Lost will occur to the literary reader 
as he sighs over the last sentence ; but, regardless of mere 
money success, the old man ploughed over his last fields as 
the sun of life stood red in the horizon, and the vale dark- 
ened beneath his feet. The ' long patience ' of this stalwart 
son of toil and imagination endured to the end, and saw no 
earthly reward. The thin, enduring furrows of these ' inven- 
tions/ traced by the ploughshare of his graver, have borne 
fruit since then ; but not for him, nor for her he left behind. 

We must not attempt a .full description of these inventions. 


Let us again say, that the style of their execution is of that 
intense, primeval, severe, and unaffected kind most suited to 
reproduce scenes of the early world ; but bare and dry, and 
as if centuries had eaten into their substance, and left them 
as the torrent streams are left among the barren heights. If, 
with this explanation, the engravings (reduced in the second 
volume of this biography, but exact facsimiles of the things 
themselves) should greatly disappoint the observer, let him 
pass by them, and go forward to something more congenial- 
Their Runic power and pathos is not for him, Each design 
has a border, which is a sort of outlined commentary, in 
harmony with the subject, and often allusive to it. It opens 
with a family picture of the patriarch, his wife, and children, 
gathered under a vast tree the parents sitting, the sons and 
daughters kneeling in worship ; the ' homestead ' is seen 
beyond close-packed flocks of sheep. Some rams of the 
flock and lambs of the fold lie in the foreground, while the 
great sun sets and the crescent moon rises over heights 
stormy and barren. In the next, the vine and fig-tree of 
home angel-guarded overshades the luxurious ease of 
family love ; but above this tender vision is one more awful. 
The Ancient of Days (who is to be read by the instructed 
eye in his cramped grandeur rather as an unlettered symbol 
of Divinity, than as a representation) sits upon His throne, 
closed in by clouds and bowing cherubim, while Satan 
presents his malignant plea. It is granted ; and in the 
succeeding scenes he works his fiery will. The darkening 
page seems to crackle with sulphurous and sudden flame ; the 
strong pillars tremble, and lurch, and fall, crushing the lovely 
and the strong under their ruins. The rampant, rejoicing 
demon dances on the cornices, and flaps his dragon wings in 
glee ; while, in the margin, strange glints of issuing claws 
and eating fires crawl upward. Then the Messengers are 
seen precipitating themselves one by one on the astonished 
eye of the patriarch and his wife. In the border, Satan walks 
majestically on the circle of the earth, and round and below 


him the lightning shivers, ' the all-dreaded thunder-stone ' 
explodes, and the billowing waves of fire still curl and creep 
threateningly. Nevertheless, we see, farther on, the patient 
man still with his attendant angels (so like the angels of 
Fra Angelico !) relieving the poor as before ; but the land- 
scape is bereaved and desolate, and over the sharp stern 
ridges of the hills the sky encloses another heavenly conclave. 
The Father of Heaven and His shrinking hosts watch how 
Lucifer, in his wrath, gathers in his hand the bottles of heaven 
into one pliant orifice, from which he sprinkles plagues and 
pains on the head of Job. The outline comment shows us 
the now manifest dragons of the pit, with sombre eyes, among 
thorns and piercing swords of flame, which are soon to strike 
through his bones and flesh. 

And again we see the faithful servant of God laid low. 
There is no vision in the upper air all is cold and vaporous 
gloom. The bellying cloud becomes a reservoir of agony* 
wielded like a huge wine-skin of wrath, and poured, as before, 
on the overthrown form upon the ground. The sea blackens, 
and the mighty rims of the setting sun seem to depart in 
protest. The scathed hills and scattered ruins against which 
the now predominant Adversary rears himself, are abandoned 
by all blessing, while his unholy feet trample the righteous 
man into the dust. There is a series of symbols of lament in 
the border a broken crook, a restless, complaining grass- 
hopper, the toad and the shard, the thistle and the wounding 
thorn. Then come the friends, with uplifted hands and sor- 
rowful eyes ; while some strange, darting horizon-light, like a 
northern aurora, cuts out into gloomy relief the black moun- 
tain, which rises beyond a city desolate as Tadmor in the 
wilderness. The patriarch, sitting on his dunghill, in the 
following design, spreads upward his pleading, appealing, 
protesting hands, while the friends bow beside the dishevelled 
wife, and speak never a word. Light is withdrawn ; clouds 
steam from the rock ; and below, in the border, the dull 
fungus spreads its tent where evil dews drip on berries of 


poison. Still following down the darkening steps of grief, we 
behold the ' terror by night ' described by Eliphaz trans- 
acted in vision over a crouching group of the bereaved pair 
and their friends. The hair of his head stands up, while an 
apparition, dignified and ominous, walks, arrayed with white 
nimbus and fire-darting cloud. Then, again, Job kneels, and 
the six scornful hands of his friends are levelled against his 
expanded Neptunian breast like spears, as he proclaims his 
integrity ; and worse than this, the fearful hissing whisper of 
the over-tempted wife of his bosom rises to his ear, bidding 
him to curse God and die. 

That is not the extremest depth of his woe. All hell seems 
to hurtle over his couch in the succeeding design ; jointed 
lightnings splinter amidst a lurid gloom ; demons throng the 
chamber, and shake their chains by the bed ; innumerable 
tongues of fire search through and through what should be 
the place of rest ; while the arch-enemy now transformed 
into a voluminous incubus, serpent-wreathed, presses down in 
thunderous imminence upon his very soul, as foul and fiendish 
arms grasp the limbs of Job, longing to hurry him away. 
The border is now all fire, which wavers and soars triumph- 
antly, as over a sacked city. Our memory recalls a fine MS. 
stanza, by a friend, which expresses the sentiment of this dark 
picture : 

' My bones are filled with feverish fire, 
My tongue hath nigh forgot to speak, 
My couch is like a burning pyre, 
My heart throbs wildly e'er it break. 

God, my God, to Thee I pray, 
Help me no other help I know ; 

1 am full of tossings to and fro 
Until the dawning of the day.' 

But now a calm falls on the scene of sorrow. Heads are up- 
lifted. Elihu, the son of Barachel the Buzite, speaks, and the 
vast stars shine around his head out of the black pall of night. 
All eyes rest on him, except those of the despairing wife. 


' There is a listening fear in their regard ' 

as he speaks, saying, ' When He giveth quietness, who then 
can make trouble ? ' A lovely marginal illustration shows, as 
it were, the beginning of a new hope. From the prostrate 
figure of the saint, on whose bosom hope seems to lie dead, 
there is a gradual lifting-up of little angel-thoughts which, 
rising higher and higher, at last disappear on their way to the 
throne of God. There follows a subject of amazing grandeur 
God speaks out of the incumbent wreaths of the whirlwind ; 
and in the outer space there are sketchings that seem to 
represent the very roots of creation, while its boiling energies 
appear to overflow above. Now the elder sons of God sing 
together with clapping wings among the studded stars ; the 
Almighty spreads His arms of command, and the coursers of 
the morning leap forth ; the silent-rushing dragons of the 
night issue into its purple hollows, and, as it were, hidden in 
'a vacant interlunar cave/ Job and his friends behold and 
meditate on these things. And again on other wonders : 
Behemoth tramps the earth ; Leviathan wallows in the deep. 
Then, farther on, ' Satan falls as lightning from heaven ; ' the 
shadows flee ; the sweet returns of the Divine favour brighten 
on the head of Job, while they flash condemnation on the 
heads of his sceptical friends. Still farther, the altar of 
grateful sacrifice sends its pyramid of flame into the heaven 
of heavens. 

In the border of this invention are drawn, curiously enough, 
a palette and pencils and a graver. We never see this without 
surmising some personal allusion in it, and thinking of George 
Herbert's poem of The Flower 

' Who would have thought my shrivelled heart 
Could have recovered greenness? It was gone 
Quite underground: as flowers depart 
To see their mother-root when they have blown, 

Where they together 

All the hard weather 
Dead to the world keep house unknown. 


' And now in age I bud again, 
After so many deaths I live and write ; 
I once more smell the dew and rain, 
And relish versing. O my onely Light ! 

It cannot be 

That I am he 
On whom Thy tempests fell all night ! ' 

How sweet and grave is the next chapter of the story. 

Dappled lights break over the newly-fruited fig-tree ; corn 
waves in the morning wind. Subdued, but with more than 
his old dignity, the restored patriarch unresentfully and 
thankfully receives from ' every one a piece of money/ 

Time flows on, and in future years we look on him once 
again. In 'a chamber of imagery,' frescoed round with 
reminiscences of the long past ' days of darkness/ Job sits. 
Three daughters, more lovely than those he had lost, clasp 
his knees, while he, with longer waving beard, and an aspect 
of deeper eld, recounts his arms wide floating in grateful 
joy the story of his trial and his deliverance. 

In the last scene of all, a full-voiced paean rises. Under 
the aged oak, where we saw the former family gathered in 
prayer, we now see, standing in the exultation of praise, 
a group of sons more strong and active, of daughters more 
beautiful and sweet. The psalm swells on the evening air ; 
resonant harp keeps time with warbling lute ; the uplifted 
silver trumpets peal ; the pastoral reed soothes the close- 
crowding, white-fleeced flocks ; a crescent rises as of yore ; 
while the sun, darting its rays to the zenith, sinks over the 
hills of God, who blesses ' the latter end of Job more than 
the beginning.' 

If we might have our wish, we would select some 
accessible but far removed, quiet vale where Corinthian 
capitals could never intrude. Here we would have built a 
strong, enduring, greystone simple building of one long 
chamber, lighted from above. This chamber should be 
divided into niches. In each niche, and of the size of life, 



there should be done in fresco, in low tones of simple, deep 
colour, one of these grand designs, inlaid in a broad gold 
flat, which should be incised in deep brown lines with the 
sub-signification of Blake's Marginalia. * * * At the 
inner end of this hall of power there should be a marble 
statue of Blake, 

' His looks commercing with the skies, 
His rapt soul sitting in his eyes.' 

He should be standing on a rock, its solid strength over- 
lapped by pale, marmoreal flames, while below his feet twined 
gently the ' Serpent of Eternity.' * * * 

We shall attempt no final summary of Blake's powers and 
position as an artist. To pay some small tribute to his 
memory from whom, for many years, we have received 
such unbounded delight and instruction, has been a growing 
wish ; and, in our humble measure, we have been able, now, 
to carry it into effect. 

He stands, and must always stand, eminently alone. The 
fountain of thought and knowledge to others, he could never 
be the head of a school What is best in him is wholly 
inimitable. ' The fire of God was in him.' And as, all 
through his works, this subtle element plays and penetrates, 
so in all he did and said, the ethereal force flamed outward, 
warming all who knew how to use it aright, scorching or 
scathing all who come impertinently near to it. He can 
never be popular in the ordinary sense of the word, write we 
never so many songs in his praise, simply because the region 
in which he lived was remote from the common concerns of 
life, and still more by reason of the truth of the 'mystic 
sentence ' uttered by his own lips, and once before cited 
in these pages 

' Nor is it possible to thought 
A greater than itself to know.' 


Printed as a Note in First Edition, Vol. I. p. 298. 

\_Mr. Finch, the reader will remember, was one of the young disciples 

much with Blake in his last days, from whom interesting 

reminiscences were gleanedl\ 

ON the twenty-seventh of August, 1862, the old Society of 
Painters in Water-Colours lost, in Mr. Finch, one of their 
earliest members, who had long enjoyed, in the highest 
degree, their confidence and esteem, and the warm affection 
of such as had the pleasure of knowing him intimately. He 
was the last representative of the old school of landscape- 
painting in water-colours a school which had given pleasure 
to the public for half a century, and contributed to obtain 
for Englishmen, in that department of art, an European 

When he left school he was articled as a pupil to Mr. John 
Varley, from whose studio came also two of our most emi- 
nent living artists, one of whom has engraved, con amore, 
Varley's Burial of Saul ; and from such a work we may 
estimate the value of his influence and instruction. It led to 
the study of refined models, and pointed to sentiment as 
the aim of art. It will, probably, be acknowledged that the 
aim was essentially right, and that, if the old school did not 



arrest and detain the eye by intricate imitation, yet that it 
was massive and manly, and that its tendency was to elevate 
and refine. It is difficult to call to mind a single work by 
Mr. Finch that did not suggest happy and beautiful lands, 
where the poet would love to muse : the moonlit glade, the 
pastoral slope, the rocky stream, the stately terrace, and 
mouldering villas or casements opening on the foam 

4 Of perilous seas in fairy lands forlorn.' 

How the Society estimated his works was shown by their 
occupying some of the most conspicuous places on the 

He had imagination, that inner sense which receives im- 
pressions of beauty as simply and surely as we smell the 
sweetness of the rose and woodbine. When a boy he 
chanced to light on the poetry of Keats, and a plaster-figure 
maker, seeing him hang with longing eye over a cast of the 
poet's head which lay in his shop, made him a present of it, 
and he bore it home in triumph. At this time Keats was 
known to the public only by the ridicule of a critique. 

Those who were intimate with Mr. Finch will find it diffi- 
cult to name a man more evenly and usefully accomplished. 
Besides modern languages and scientific acquisitions, he had 
large general knowledge. His conversation was never ob- 
trusive, and it never flagged : it was solemn, playful or 
instructive, always at the right time and in the right place. 
An eminent friend, a sagacious observer of men, said that he 
never thought a friendly dinner-party complete unless Finch 
were at the table ; ' It was like forgetting the bread.' 

He had read much, and was familiar with the great poets 
and satirists ; knew the philosophy of the mind, and had 
observed men and manners. Of those departments of know- 
ledge which lay apart, his good sense enabled him to take, 
at least, the relative dimensions. Knowledge apprehends 
things in themselves ; wisdom sees them in their relations. 
He taught his young friends that goodness was better even 


than wisdom, and the philosophy which is conversant with 
the unseen than any ingenuities of technical science. He 
said he thought we ought not to claim a monopoly of 
wisdom because we had discovered that steam would turn 
a wheel. 

It is difficult to convey a notion of his musical genius, 
because the skill of amateurs, after all the time which is 
lavished to acquire it, so seldom amounts to more than the 
doing indifferently what professors do well ; but it was not 
so with him : it seemed to be his natural language an ex- 
pression of that melody within, which is more charming than 
any modulation of strings or voices. The writer has felt 
more pleasure in sitting by his pianoforte, listening to frag- 
ments of Tallis, Croft, or Purcell, with the interlude, perhaps, 
of an Irish melody, than from many displays of concerted 
music. To music his friend resorted at the right time after 
his temperate dinner, as Milton directs in his ' Tractate.' 

Nor was his pen unused, and he could use it well. ' His 
endeavour,' says one who knew him best, ' to benefit his young 
friends will be long and affectionately remembered, nor is it 
probable that those of maturer age will easily forget his gentle 
influence and wise counsel.' 

Of his social and moral excellence it is difficult to speak in 
so short a notice, for the heart overflows with memories of his 
active kindness, and the skill is lacking to condense a life into 
a paragraph. 

In all the domestic relations, he was exemplary ; through- 
out his single and married life his good mother never left his 
house but for her grave, to which the unremitting kindness of 
her new relative had smoothed the passage. He did not 
work alone ; were another resting by his side, it might be told 
that, with one will and purpose, there were two hearts equally 
busy in 'devising liberal things.' His hospitality was not 
adjusted to his interest, nor his table spread for those who 
could repay beef with venison ; but for old friends who were 
: in the shade ; 'for merit and virtue in distress or exile; for 

A A 2 


pale faces which brought the recommendation of sorrow. 
Let us bear with his simplicity. Perhaps when he ' made 
a feast/ he consulted a very old-fashioned BOOK as to the 
selection of his guests. 

The writer willingly incurs the ridicule of those who believe 
goodness to be only a refined selfishness, when he looks 
back, as far as boyhood, to recall some single piece of slight 
or rudeness, some hard unkindness or cold neglect, some 
evil influence or moral flaw in his old friend's character, 
and cannot find it. Were there many such, sarcasm might 
break her shafts. 

Our great satirist said that, if his wide experience had 

shown him twelve men like Arbuthnot, he never would have 

written the 'Travels.' 

A symmetrical soul is a thing very beautiful and very rare. 

Who does not find about him and within him grotesque 

mixtures, or unbalanced faculties, or inconsistent desires ; 

the understanding and the will at feud, the very will in 

vacillation ; opinions shifting with the mode, and smaller 

impertinences which he forgives, if they are not his own, for 

the amusement they afford him ? 

Let those who knew Francis Finch be thankful ; they have 

seen a disciplined and a just man- 'a city at unity with 








SEVENTEEN years have elapsed since the Life of Blake first 
came before the public ; nineteen since its author laid down 
the pen never again to resume it. During the interval this 
sole product of his mature powers, which was greeted on its 
first appearance with a cordial welcome from those whose 
praise would have been most dear to him, but made way 
slowly with the general public, has steadily increased in 
reputation. Whilst his children have been growing up to 
manhood and womanhood, this fruit of his brain has taken 
root and thriven in a sunny, if somewhat secluded, nook of 
the garden of literature. If, then, I could briefly sketch a 
faithful portrait of Blake's biographer, the attempt would 
need no apology ; for if the work be of interest, so is the 
worker. A biographer necessarily offers himself as the 
mirror in which his hero is reflected ; and we judge all the 
better of the truth and adequacy of the image by a closer 
acquaintance with the medium through which it comes to us. 

Alexander Gilchrist, youngest but one of seven children, 
was born at Newington Green on the 25th of April, 1828, a 
few months after Blake's death. His father, James Gilchrist, 
though early lost to him, remained through life an object 
of such tender love and veneration as few fathers have the 
happiness of becoming to their children ; so that it is hardly 


possible to separate the story of the child's life and de- 
velopment from some hasty delineation of that father's 
character. James, born in 1783, was the posthumous son of 
a farmer at Larbert near Falkirk. By nature studious, his 
active inquiring mind proved fertile soil to those seeds of 
knowledge which are scattered with a somewhat more liberal 
hand in the village schools of Scotland than of England. 
Larbert also supplied the boy with friends it would not 
have been easy to better in a city. There was Willie the 
Norelin (quaintly shrewd), a journeyman carpenter who had 
served his apprenticeship in Peterhead, and worked in all the 
principal towns in Scotland for the sake of insight, as he 
called it. He was given to the study of Physics, lent the 
boy philosophical books and, by his serious, earnest, upright 
character, exercised on him an influence for good that 
proved lasting. There was old Sanders the weaver, 'who 
liked anything better than weaving/ and mounted the 
treadles as reluctantly as if he were going to the scaffold ; 
but could wrench out a tooth, broach a vein, splice a bone, 
define the qualities of herbs, make shuttles, fiddles, cuckoo- 
clocks, prune trees, shave ; above all, on Saturday night, when 
his tongue went faster than his razor ; could tell marvellous 
tales from old books of travel (Shaw, Bruce, Lithgow), 
from memoirs, histories ; was great in legendary lore the 
deeds of William Wallace, the Graeme, Robert Bruce ; the 
wonders of the vanished city of Camelon, with gates of 
brass, which had stood on that very spot in the days of the 
Romans. Yet with a curious admixture of shrewdness and 
scepticism would old Sanders, in his private talk, slyly hint 
suspicion of his own wonders, that plunged his young 
listener from sunny dreams into a chill, comfortless, wintry 
atmosphere; not without wholesome results either, to one 
who grew up an ardent truth-seeker. There was, besides, a 
day-labourer who had never been to school, and owned no 
books, yet had an acuteness of observation, an insatiable 
thirst for knowledge, that triumphed over all obstacles. He 



had contrived to store his mind with a vast miscellany of 
facts ; could sketch the map of any country and its inhabi- 
tants in characteristic garb and features, every beast, bird, and 
fish, from the elephant to the mouse, the ostrich to the wren, 
the whale to the minnow. He had moreover mechanical 
genius, and was always busy on some new invention, except 
when compelled by want to return to the spade and mattock. 
And, last, there was a stone-mason, a "solitary, contemplative 
man, an enthusiastic lover of the poets, through whom the lad 
made his first acquaintance with Milton and Burns. 

At his own earnest entreaty James Gilchrist was enabled, 
by the help of a cousin, to go to Edinburgh University. In a 
little book called The Intellectual Patrimony, published in 1817, 
containing some interesting autobiographic touches, upon which 
I have already drawn, there occurs a characteristic reminis- 
cence of this his first journey : ' When I was yet very young 
' I received instructions and counsel from a poor stranger, 

* which have been fresh in my recollection almost every day 
' of my life for more than twenty years. The tender sen- 
' sibility of my mind, under the strong impulse of pathetic 
' circumstances, probably rendered the wisdom of the rustic 
' sage more striking and impressive. I was on my first long 
' journey out into the wide world. I had left my tender 
' mother in tears of affection ; I had often turned back to hear 
' once more the stream of the Carron murmuring by the 
' tombs of my fathers, and had ascended every eminence that 
' promised another sight of Torwood and the Ochils ; and 
' when I should have been provided with lodgings in Edin- 
' burgh I was still a solitary wanderer, at dusky eve, on the 
' lonesome road leading from Linlithgow. Here I was over- 
' taken 'by a little, mean-looking old Highlandman, who soon 
' drew from me my thoughts and feelings, and then began to 
' give me instruction and counsel in words so vigorous and 

- quaint, that I never wholly lost the remembrance of them. 
' Yet the direct influence of his discourse was perhaps 
' the least benefit which it communicated ; the respect it 


' inspired for wisdom was its greatest influence. I have 
' always thought of the little mean-looking old man as 
' standing high in the rank of being, and have felt persuaded 
'that it would be impossible for external circumstances to 
' prevent me from rising, if I chose, to true intellectual and 
* moral dignity.' After completing his course at Edinburgh, 
James entered the ministry as a member of the sect of 
General Baptists, an offshoot of the Presbyterian Church ; 
was sent out on a mission to preach in England, travelling 
through Cumberland, Westmorland, Lancashire, Shropshire, 
and Staffordshire ; preached a while in Birmingham, then for 
three years in the beautiful little village of Melbourn in 
Derbyshire : made a happy marriage and finally settled down 
at Newington Green. During these various ministrations his 
mind had travelled no less restlessly than his body, question- 
ing, doubting ; now tending to Unitarianism, now drawing 
back from it ; now busy with the ' fathomless speculations of 
theological metaphysics,' now taking refuge from these in a 
philosophical examination of language, which resulted in an 
attempt to found a system of rational philology. Although 
his labours in this direction undertaken as they were before 
the study of Sanskrit had revolutionised the methods and 
results of philological research in England (though not before 
German scholars had already seized the clue) have no 
permanent value, they display much philosophical acumen, 
a vigorous grasp of the problems in question, and a trenchant 
way of demolishing some of the ingenious errors then 
flourishing as newly discovered truth ; such as the northern 
origin of language as set forth by Home Tooke ; of whom, 
however, he was, in the main, a warm admirer. It was, in 
truth, the desire to ' dig deep into the reasons and qualities of 
things ' that set James Gilchrist upon the preliminary task of 
scrutinising his tools, convinced 'that the alchemy of a 
fancifully uncertain etymology ' such as then prevailed ' might 
' be transmuted into the chemistry of a rational philology 
'. . . which would not only facilitate the acquirement of 



' languages, ancient and modern, but purify and enlighten 
' the intellectual atmosphere, furnish an antidote to the 
' poison of metaphysical subtlety, and prevent words from 
'imposing upon us "or flying back like Tartar's bows and 
' mightily entangling the understanding ; " and last, not least, 
'convert bewildered and bewildering Aristotelian philo- 
'sophlings into useful mechanics or harmless gentlemen.' 
His views were set forth in two pamphlets entitled, Reason 
the True Arbiter of Language, and The Labyrinth Demolished, 
or the Pioneer of Rational Philology, published in 1815 ; 
and he then entered on the formidable task of carrying out 
his principles in a new Dictionary of the English language, 
or Etymologic Interpreter, with an Introduction ' containing a 
full development of the Principles of Etymology and 
Grammar.' This Introduction was published separately as a 
precursor of the Dictionary in 1824. I will venture to give 
one brief extract, both as a taste of the writer's quality, and 
because it contains, as a friend well qualified to judge assures 
me, a clear anticipation of the doctrine of relativity, sinc'e 
developed at large by Professor Bain. 'As almost every 
expression (if there be any exception) is elliptical ; so with 
' almost every word (if here also any exception exist) there 
' are several ideas associated in the mind of those who employ 
4 it, besides the individual idea which it was employed to 
' indicate. The reason of this is too obvious to require any 
' metaphysical abstrusity of theory or of explication. There 
' is no such entity in either the natural or moral, physical or 
' metaphysical world, as disconnected individuality. There 
' is not any one single entity, be it an object of our senses, a 
' sensation, an idea, a preception, a notion, or whatever you 
' may choose to call it, which can exist alone or in absolute 
' solitude, and separation from company. However much, there- 
' fore, it may be intended as the sole or exclusive object or 
' indication of any verbal sign, or of any contrivance what- 
' ever, it is, after all, but one of a flock or group : it may be 
' the first or largest of the flock, it may be the most 


prominent or most distinguished figure in the group ; it 
' may occupy the foreground in the representation, but it 
' is always accompanied by a number of other entities. 
' Hence what is called the principle of mental association, 
' so liberally philosophised since the days of that original, 
'acute, and profound thinker, that consistent reasoner, that 
' masterly writer but ill-requited author, the Philosopher of 
' Malmesbury ; for the poorest of those who have borrowed 
' from him have liberally repaid the obligation by kicking 
' at his reputation : and even the simple-minded Mr. Locke 

* only mentions his writings to say that they are justly ex- 
' ploded. Such is the timidity or ingratitude of the disciple 

* who is, in this, as in so many other respects, a perfect con- 
' trast to his great master, the teacher and founder of that 
' philosophy of which he was an unworthy apostle. ' Spite of 
James Gilchrist's nationality he also girds at the Scottish 
metaphysicians with vehemence, especially at Dugald Stewart, 
whom he alludes to as the ' visionary metaphysicling.' 

These pamphlets were, unfortunately, printed at the writer's 
own cost, and published by himself; in other words, not 
published at all. They never, therefore, reached the eye of 
the public, though they attracted the favourable notice of a 
few scholars (notably of Dr. Gilchrist) and obtained for their 
author employment on the Encyclopedia Britannica. Amid 
these labours, his mind continued still agitated by religious 
questions. Repelled, on the one hand, by the narrowness and 
ignorance of the orthodox sects and, on the other, by what he 
regarded as the specious intellectuality and illogical com- 
promises of the Unitarians ; discipled by the incisive and 
fearless intellect of Hobbes, whom, as a philosopher, he 
admired and honoured above all men save Bacon, yet him- 
self permeated through and through with the religious earnest- 
ness, nay, the religious faith, of his Scottish Puritan ancestors 
he found no peace nor rest till he came to the firm and final 
determination to renounce the ministry altogether, since he 
could only please and satisfy his flock by leading them along 



a beaten track reason and conscience refused to tread. But 
not without a severe mental conflict was this decision arrived 
at ; a conflict which, added as it was to arduous mental 
labours, to his duties as a preacher, and as tutor to some 
private pupils, residing in his house, resulted in an attack of 
brain-fever that permanently shattered his strength. He rose 
from the sick bed calm and determined. The storm within 
was over ; a storm without began. To resign the ministry 
was to resign the chief means of support for his wife and 
children, now seven in number ; to lose many warm friends ; 
to be bitterly assailed by kith and kin, whose notions of worldly 
prudence and sectarian bigotry were alike outraged by his 
decision. But, put what you might into the other scale, James 
Gilchrist's was not the kind of conscience to kick the beam ; 
nor happily was his wife one to shrink from or murmur at 
the consequences which might ensue, though she herself 
remained a staunch Unitarian. He had an eye for the in- 
trinsic, and knew that a man's self-respect is an indispensable 
possession which to part with is to become poor and abject 
amid what wealth or splendour of environment soever. It 
was, indeed, no question of wealth or splendour for him, but 
the more serious and urgent one of the necessary means of 
subsistence. The home in Newington Green was exchanged 
for a cottage in the beautiful village of Mapledurham, near 
Reading, where, on a bend of the Thames, quite secluded and 
embowered by trees, stands an old water-mill (a favourite 
with our landscape painters), which James Gilchrist rented. 
The little son, Alexander, was then a year old ; and here he 
spent a happy childhood, all unconscious that, amid that 
tranquil routine of country life, another storm was gathering 
which was to hasten to a premature close his father's days. 
Almost as soon as he could walk he became that father's 
constant companion, the span of years between them bridged 
by the remarkable gift of sympathetic insight, springing from 
a great power of loving, which dawned early in the child, 
grew from day to day, and was hereafter to prove a main 


source of his strength as critic and biographer. Hand in 
hand they stood, watching the work go on in the cheerful, 
busy, old mill, amid the clank and throb of machinery, the 
sound of the rushing water over the great wheel, the clean and 
pleasant smell of the flour, thickly powdering wall and floor* 
miller and men to match. Or they wandered along the river- 
side and through the noble beechwoods that crown the sur- 
rounding heights, the father musing, the child enjoying ; or took 
the footpath across the grounds of Mapledurham House, seat of 
the Blounts, where Pope was once a frequent guest. Those 
were stirring times in politics (182836) ; and James Gilchrist 
was, needless to say, an ardent sympathiser with the cause of 
reform and progress. Many a time, pausing in these walks, 
did he have discussion, long and lively, on public affairs with 
the rector of the parish, Lord Augustus Fitzclarence, son of 
William IV. and Mrs. Jordan, a kindly, liberal-minded man, 
who, perhaps, found in the conversation of the thoughtful, 
scholarly miller an unexpected and piquant enlivenment of his 
duties towards a rustic flock. 

As to education little Alexander was under a mild regime, 
unlike that to which his elder brothers had been subjected. 
For them had been devised new methods of learning to read, 
to spell, to attack the difficulties of the Latin grammar, based 
on the philosophical study of language. But the results had 
been far from encouraging. Whether the pupils were to book- 
learning especially averse, or the standard of time and 
attention were fixed too high, or too sternly enforced by the 
earnest, high-strung, sometimes irritable, father ; or whether 
the new system were better in theory than in practice, the 
progress made was small and the disgust to study great in 
both the elder brothers. So the youngest was suffered to 
travel along the beaten track, under the gentle guidance of 
an elder sister, and the intercourse between father and son 
was unclouded and wholly pleasurable. On the young child's 
soul the father's image impressed itself, for life, as an ideal 
embodiment of sweetness and dignity of character ; and their 


intercourse, especially the silent outdoor companionship, 
made his childhood seem to him a poem of which the 
joyous beauty was enhanced by contrast with the time of 
sorrow and darkness that immediately followed. 

It was hardly possible for James Gilchrist, now in middle 
life, with the fixed habits and abstracted nature of a scholar, 
and with that shrinking alike from business ways and busi- 
ness men which follows from having other aims and other 
standards of judgment, to adapt himself with any measure 
of success to the new occupation. He had entered on it 
against his own wishes and judgment, in deference to the 
advice of indignant relatives, to whom the abandonment of a 
good income for conscience' sake appeared mere fatuity ; 
anxious to repair by any means, however repugnant, the 
injury he had been compelled to inflict on the pecuniary 
interests of those dear to him ; prone also, perhaps, as con- 
scientious natures often are, to believe that what is most 
distasteful must therefore be most right to do. But he had 
failed to realise, with sufficient force, that training and expe- 
rience are necessary to success in business. Gradually the 
entire control of the buying and selling, if not of the mill 
itself, fell into young and irresponsible hands, and the final 
disaster was not long in coming. Failure to so proud and 
honourable a nature was synonymous with disgrace. The 
blow struck him down and made him desire death. Under- 
mined as his strength had been by the previous severe illness, 
death easily obeyed his wishes. A nameless kind of malady, 
a wasting of health and strength without apparent physical 
cause, laid James Gilchrist in the grave at the age of 52. 
Thus, looking back in maturer years, was added a peculiar 
tenderness to the son's sorrow and affection for his father, as 
for one who had aimed high, striven hard, .lived blamelessly, 
yet, in his prime, been whelmed in troubled waters he had no 
power to stem. And thus was developed that strong sympathy 
with the unvictorious fighters in the battle of life, which was 
a marked characteristic of Alexander Gilchrist. 


The grief and speedy death of the beloved father, the 
anxious sorrowful faces of the mother and elder children, the 
straitened means and hurried return to London, dreariest of 
places under such conditions, combined to make a swift and 
sharp transition from light to dark in the child's life, which left 
indelible traces. But courage, mutual helpfulness, a strong 
bond of family affection, and, in most of the children, an un- 
quenchable love of intellectual pursuits, prevailed against the 
darkness soon, though their path continued steep and rugged. 

At the age of twelve Alexander was sent to London 
University College school, where, for four years, he was a 
diligent and very quiet scholar ; frequenting the play-ground 
little, if at all, liking his work and his teachers well, liked by 
them, winning a fair share of prizes, and eagerly availing him- 
self of all the opportunities offered to quench his thirst for 
knowledge. This, too, was always looked back upon as a happy 
time : and not least of the pleasant memories connected with 
it was that of the afternoon saunter home across the Regent's 
Park in spring, with a volume of Wordsworth or Shelley for 
companion first readings in the poets which, to one who had 
himself a poet's heart, if not a poet's gift of utterance, made 
a spring-time within as full of fresh beauty as nature's own. 

Now, too, was formed a friendship with two brothers 
which remained, to the end, one of the most precious gifts life 
had in store. The elder of these, some ten years older than 
himself, combined with a riper judgment and a close simi- 
larity of tastes, rare endowments which had they not im- 
pelled him with equal force toward literature and art, and 
been unsustained by the self-reliant energy needful to coun- 
terbalance that unproductive fastidiousness which sometimes 
results from an exquisite fineness of perception (for every 
man has to begin with comparative, if not absolute, failures) 
might have achieved enduring work in either field. In his 
friends' home Alexander spent his happiest hours, all mem- 
bers of the family welcoming him with affectionate cordiality. 
And when the two were separated by distance, letters which 


made the mental gains and experiences of the one the gains 
of the other, were exchanged with a faithful regularity which 
continued to the end. An unread letter, waiting for the 
better moment that never came, was under the death-bed 
pillow of the one whose life-journey was soonest ended. 

On leaving school, at the age of sixteen, Alexander applied 
himself with energy to the study of Jurisprudence, with a 
view to being called to the Bar, and entered as a student of 
the Middle Temple in 1846, continuing two years longer to 
prepare himself for practice assiduously. The law was not a 
repulsive or uninteresting pursuit to him ; but the love of 
literature strengthened with his strength till he grew to feel 
that, to him at least, the most modest literary achievement, 
provided it were genuine, something worth doing worthily 
done, was more to be desired than brilliant legal success : 
and when he was called to the Bar in 1849 ne donned 
the wig and gown for the last as well as the first time, 
thenceforward devoting himself wholly to literary work. The 
usual, indeed more than the usual, share of disappointments 
and delays, refusals and curtailments from the hands of editors 
fell to his share. The very earnestness and conscientious 
thoroughness of his bent seemed to overweight him in the race, 
and that which was his strength though strength that had not 
yet learned to put itself forth victoriously made him labour 
along slowly, whilst shallower but more agile writers, with 
aims easier of attainment, shot on before. He desired always 
to treat his subject exhaustively ; as a critic to enter into 
close companionship with his author or painter; to stand hand 
in hand with him, seeing the same horizon, listening, pondering, 
absorbing. No subtlest shade of meaning, no shifting hue of 
beauty should escape him or his reader if he could help it. 
Hence the difficulty of obtaining concentration ; of making due 
sacrifice of detail to the force of the whole. Hence, at first, a 
thicket of adjectives in labyrinthine sentences. But the reader 
who persevered through these discouragements found himself 
in company with a large and generous mind, of fine perceptions 



and strong convictions ; bent wholly on communicating the 
warmth of his admiration for the work of genius in question ; 
careless of himself, incapable of those airs of superiority to 
which critics are prone. Like his father he was a good hater 
in a literary, not in a personal, sense. For bad or meretricious 
work, for false sentiment or for philistinism he expressed his 
scorn with sufficient point and fervour. 

Dr. Price, then editor of the Eclectic Review, was the first 
to recognise that the young critic deserved a hearing, and to 
open to him the doors of that Review. In its pages appeared 
all he wrote for three or four years : criticisms of the poets ; 
reviews of books on art ; and notices of picture exhibitions. 
Many were the days spent in the National Gallery, Hampton 
Court, the Dulwich Gallery ; in Westminster Abbey, or in 
country rambles which had for their goal some old church, 
every stone of which was scanned till it yielded up its quota of 
the history, as well as of the meaning and beauty of the whole. 
This was a time when the lovers of Gothic architecture yet 
believed in Restoration, little suspecting it was to prove the 
most insidious and deadly form of destruction ; and articles 
were now and then devoted to archaeological topics and the 
doings of the restorers. 

The first little gleam of recognition which came was the 
republication, in pamphlet form, by Cundall of an article on 
Etty, which appeared in the Eclectic in 1849 ; and, resulting 
from this, the further good fortune of a commission from David 
Bogue to write the Life of Etty. With this brightening of the 
horizon marriage seemed not too imprudent; and having 
found, some three years before, the woman of his choice, they 
were married at Earls Colne in February 1851, he being then 
not quite twenty-three. After devoting part of the spring to 
an article on the Great Exhibition from the Decorative Art 
point of view, a subject on which he had already written 
at length in Chambers's Papers for the People, we went into 
Yorkshire, Etty's native county, to collect materials for the 
Life ; which took us into some curious old-world nooks and 


corners, and among people with a fresh flavour of their native 
soil about them. The following winter was spent within sight 
and sound of the sea, at Lyme Regis, in battling manfully with 
the plethora of material collected, letters, diaries, quality 
in inverse proportion to quantity, out of which the Life was 
to be constructed : an arduous and discouraging task. But a 
hearty admiration for Etty as a painter, and a genuine liking 
for his solid, simple character, carried the biographer cheer- 
fully, though slowly, forward, and in 1855 the Life of Etty 
appeared. His rewards were the consciousness of having done 
an honest piece of work ; and the following letter from Mr. 
Carlyle, opened, as how well I remember, with eager haste, 
and read with a glow of pleasure that made past toils seem 
light and the future full of hope : 

' Chelsea, 30 Jan. 1855. 

'I have received your Life of Etty ; and am surely 
much obliged by your kind gift and by the kind sentiments 
you express towards me. I read, last night, in the book, with 
unusual satisfaction : a book done in a vigorous, sympathetic, 
veracious spirit, and promising me the delineation, actual and 
intelligible, of a man extremely well worth knowing. Beyond 
doubt I shall finish steadily what I have begun, and small 
thanks to me in this instance. Etty's name was, naturally, 
familiar to me, but his physiognomy of body and mind, and 
his great merits as painter and man, were a mere rumour to 
me hitherto. 

' I believe I may congratulate you on accomplishing a good 
work, of its kind, among your fellow creatures ; and it is a real 
favour to me that I have the opportunity of enjoying myself 
over it and instructing myself by it. 

' I wish you all good speed in your enterprises ; and solicit 
a continuance of your good will towards me. 

' I am, with many thanks and regards, 

* Yours sincerely, 



The press was either silent or adverse. The York papers, 
specially interested in the matter, not for artistic but for local 
reasons, Etty having been born in York and ended his days 
there as a wealthy citizen, were aggrieved at the author's 
disparaging comparison of the past grandeurs of their city 
with its present condition ; and, in one journal, an indignant 
peroration wound up with the scathing inquiry, ' Does he 
ignore our manufacture of combs ? ' 

The next task was also a commission from Bogue, who 
was about to issue a new edition of Men of the Time, and 
committed to Etty's biographer the writing of the short 
notices of artists to be included. This done, and the public 
seeming little disposed to interest itself in Etty, my husband 
chose, for once, a subject with reference not to his own tastes 
but to what seemed likely to prove of wider general interest, 
and began a Life of the Earl of Dundonnald. Notwithstand- 
ing a sincere admiration for that brave, able, ill-used man, the 
enterprise was uncongenial, and relinquished without regret 
when it came to light that the Earl was preparing an 

But life is not all work. Besides the pleasures of domestic 
life, always very dear to him of whom I write, there was the 
simple yet sufficing one of long, often solitary, rambles over 
the beautiful hills around Guildford, in which cheerful, 
picturesque town we had settled in 1853. Our roomy old, 
gabled, weather-tiled house, standing a little back from the 
high road, was a home after his own heart. It seemed to 
have a particularly comfortable, sleepy way of basking in 
the sun, as a thing it had been used to do on summer after- 
noons for two or three centuries ; but in rough weather it 
was like a ship at sea, so did the winds, from whatever 
quarter, buffet it, and surge along the hollows of its many- 
gabled roof. In the hall, which was the largest room, stood 
a long oak table, lustrous with age and the polishings of 
many hands, which must have been made in the house to 
remain there till both should crumble, for at no door nor 


window could it have been got in or out ; and with it were 
the high oaken stools on which less luxurious generations had 
sat at meat. There was a great open fireplace with niched 
seats in the chimney corner where to rest with a friend over 
the glowing, fragrant logs when stiff and chill, but in happiest 
mood, after a twenty-mile walk, was an enjoyment that made 
a man ' o'er all the ills of life victorious.' Often the friend 
was Walter White, than whom no man knows better how to 
enjoy, and to make his readers enjoy, such a tramp and such 
a rest. 

Meanwhile there was good work, thoroughly congenial 
work, in view. Allan Cunningham's sketch in Lives of the 
Painters and the well-known illustrations to Blair's Grave 
were, up to this time, all the acquaintance my husband had 
with Blake. But, in a visit to London, he now came upon 
some Designs, and upon the Illustrations of the Book of Job, 
which filled him with enthusiasm ; and his mind was quickly 
made up to the task of gathering together as complete a 
record of Blake's life and works as was yet possible. This 
and other literary plans made removal to London desirable, 
and in the course of a visft to Mr. Carlyle the idea was 
mooted of our taking a house next door to him. Soon 
afterwards Mr. Carlyle wrote, ' I dare not advise anybody 
* into a house (almost as dangerous as advising him to a wife, 
' except that divorce is easier) . . . but if heaven should 
' please to rain you accidentally into that house I should 
' esteem it a kindness.' And heaven did rain us down there, 
much to our satisfaction, in the autumn of 1856. The 
opportunity thus afforded for intercourse with one whose 
works my husband always regarded as the noblest influence 
of his time, and especially for occasional companionship in 
long afternoon and night walks, was keenly prized. We had 
been settled at Chelsea only a few months when a domestic 
sorrow, the accidental drowning of a much-loved elder 
brother, came upon him. The two succeeding years had 
to be wholly devoted to the harassing task of winding up 


large and complicated business affairs, left in disorder by 
this sudden death. That done, Alexander turned, with re- 
newed delight, back to literary work, carrying on the Blake 
towards completion ; and contributing, first to the Literary 
Gazette and then to the Critic (both papers since defunct), 
some weekly columns of art criticism and notices of books 
on art. To this he applied himself with no little zest 
at first, for his interest in every department of the subject 
was fresh and hearty, and his desire to speed the true as 
against the meretricious, strong. Notices of picture ex- 
hibitions did, at last, become a weariness ; the conscientious 
thoroughness with which he sought that no genuine merit, 
of however modest a kind, should escape him, and 
to this end the huge multitude of pictures to be carefully 
examined and remembered ; the large proportion that were 
of little worth ; the distracted hunt for adjectives with some 
freshness of flavour in them wherewith to characterise the 
admirable or the contemptible, made the task laborious far 
beyond what its pecuniary reward, or, as he began to think 
latterly, its intrinsic usefulness justified ; and he longed to 
relinquish it for more fruitful ,work in his chosen field of 
biography. Many were the projects to be realised after the 
Blake. For a life of Wordsworth he had already begun to make 
preparation : and lighter enterprises were to come in between 
whiles. Countess D'Aulnois, whose sprightly genius has been 
a good fairy of the nursery for a couple of hundred years, 
Lord Herbert of Cherbury, Sir Kenelm Digby, old Howell 
(first and most respectable of book-makers) of these, and 
many another, it was my husband's cherished hope to revive 
the faded and forgotten lineaments : to create a small gallery 
of portraits in which the lover of literature should linger with 
as curious an interest as does the antiquary amid the relics 
of the external life of the past. But it was not to be. Life 
was opening out fair prospects around ; the steepest pitch of 
the hill was climbed ; men of rare genius, among them the 
poet-artist, Dante Gabriel and his brother William Rossetti, 


Ford Madox Brown, and others, were stretching out to him 
the hand of friendship. His own words, a sonnet, call 
it rather a solemn prophetic flash, which came to him in a 
long solitary walk over Hindhead a few years before, sums 
all up : 


On eager feet, his heritage to seize, 

A traveller speeds towards the promised land ; 

Afar gloom purple slopes on either hand; 

Glad earth is fragrant with the flowering lees; 

The green corn stirs in noon's hot slumberous breeze, 

And whispering woodlands nigh make answer grand. 

That pilgrim's heart, as by a magic wand, 

Is swayed : nor, as he gains each height, and sees 

A gleaming landscape still and still afar, 

Doth Hope abate, nor less a glowing breath 

Wake subtle tones from viewless strings within. 

But lo ! upon his path new aspects win : 

Dun sky above, brown wastes around him are; 

From yon horizon dim stalks spectral Death ! 

GUILD FORD, June, 1856. 

In the autumn of 1861 our eldest girl, Beatrice, took scarlet 
fever of a malignant type. Six weeks after, while she was 
struggling back to convalescence, our eldest boy and then 
the father himself sickened with it. All the children battled 
through, but the father succumbed. The brain was tired 
with stress of work ; the fever burned and devastated like 
a flaming fire : to four days of delirium succeeded one of 
exhaustion, of stupor ; and then the end ; without a word, 
but not without a look of loving recognition. It was on a 
wild and stormy night, November 30, 1861, that his spirit 
took flight. If life be measured not by years, but by 
what it contains, this life of thirty-three summers was not 
short. With a sweetness of disposition, a tenderness of 
heart that gave and took the utmost of happiness in 
domestic life ; a sturdy enjoyment of work ; fair, though 



not strong, health ; a fineness of perception and an ardent 
love for all that is genuine or great in literature, in art, in 
nature, in humanity, and a silent faith in immortality, I think 
he knew no moments of tedium or ennui, though of sorrow, toil, 
pain and privation he had his share. To such a nature the 
cup of life is full of fine flavours. 



ACADEMY, Royal, when founded, 8 ; 
quits Somerset Palace, 28 ; first exhi- 
bition in Somerset House, 35 ; 
assists Blake, 328 

Abbott, R.A., portrait of Cowper by, 
1 66 

Ackermann, 8, 289 

Adams (Adelphi), 112 

Aders' collection of pictures, 379 

Mrs., 380 

Ahania, 131 

Aliamet, worked on Strange's plates, 


Allingham's Nightingale Valley, 16 

America, 106 10 

Angelico, Fra, 4 

Angelo, Michael, 4, 10, 263 

Art Union 'Journal, notices of T, von 
Hoist, March, 1844, May, 1846 
(date omitted in the Life} 425 

Athenaum ; Art. on wood engraving, 

BACON, Blake on, 315 16 

Barbauld, Mrs. 45 

Barry, painter, 48, 306 

Bartolozzi, 14, 20 

Basire, J. engraver, 13 ; death of, 178 

Bathurst, Laay, 162 

Battersea ; see Topographic Details 

Beethoven, death of, 408 

Bensley, printer, 265 

Bewick, 266 

Blacklock, 24 

Blake, Catherine, courted, 389 ; helps 
in the shop, 56 ; a modern Griselda, 
59 ; learns to print and tint, 70 ; 
described, 114; illness, 200; re- 
covery, 250 ; wifely devotion, 358 
60 ; last days of, 409 n ; letter from 
to Mrs. Flaxman, 147 

James, 55, 2745 

Robert, 579, 689 

Miss, 151, 411 12 

William, rareness of his works, 

2 ; birth and parentage, 5 ; self 

taught, 6 ; boyish rambles and first 
"vision," 7 ; early bent for art, 8 ; 
first poems, 10, n ; apprenticed, 13 ; 
draws in Westminster Abbey, 17 ; 
prentice work, ic 20 ; studies in R. 
A. under Moser, 289; employed 
by the publishers, 32 3, 37 ; intro- 
duced to Stothard and Flaxman, 33 ; 
exhibits at R. A. 34 ; witnesses the 
Gordon riots, 35, 36 ; courtship, 37 ; 
marriage, 41 ; sets up in Green street, 
43; first patrons, 43 51 ; Poetical 
Sketches printed, 48, 49 ; turns res- 
tive in polite circles, 49, 50 ; lives by 
his graver, 51 2 ; exhibits again at 
R. A. 54 ; father dies, 55 ; sets up a 
print shop, 55 ; Robert lives with him, 
56 ; a domestic dispute adjusted, 58 
9 ; tends Robert's death bed, 59 ; 
dissolves partnership with Parker, 
59 ; removes to Poland street, 59 ; 
annotates Lavate*-, 627 ; communes 
with the departed, 68 9 ; engraves 
Songs of Innocence, 70: Thel and 
other works, 77 89 ; introduced to 
bookseller Johnson, 90 I ; meets 
Paine, Godwin, &c. 93 4 ; saves 
Paine, 95 ; has an interview with Sir 
Joshua, 95 ; removes to Lambeth, 
98 ; produces Gates of Paradise, 99 ; 
and Books of Prophecy, 102 10 ; 
finds a staunch patron, in ; Adam 
and Eve story, 112 14 ; intensity of 
the visionary faculty, 113; engraves 
the Songs of Experience, 116 ; and 
more Books of Prophecy, 124; but 
does not neglect engraving, 132 ; 
obtains work from the publishers,- 
134 ; illustrates Young, 135 ; ex- 
hibits at R. A., 140 ; is introduced 
to Hayley, 142 ; engraves for 
him, 144 ; settles at Felpham, 145 ; 
illustrates Hayley's Little Tom. 153 ; 
visionary converse by the shore, 160 ; 
works beside Hayley, paints temperas 
for library, 162; writes to Hayley 



and Butts, 1634, 223 ; paints 
miniature, 164 ; and illustrates more 
Ballads, 166 ; finds out the draw- 
backs of Felpham, 171 ; begins 
Greek, 174; illness, 176; defends 
his own style of painting to Butts, 
1 79 ; decides to return to London, 
184 ; continues to execute commis- 
sions for Butts, 1 86 ; squabble with a 
drunken soldier, 191 ; has to stand 
his trial for sedition, 193 ; returns to 
London, 194 ; the trial conies off, 
195 ; acquitted, 197 ; returns to 
London, 199 ; lodges in South 
Molton street, 201 ; collects ma- 
terial for Hayley's Romney, 202 3 ; 
still engraving for Hayley, 205 ; ne- 
gotiates business matters for Hayley, 
207 8, 211 13; great mental 
crisis, 215 1 6 ; still working at 
Romney's Shipwreck, 218 ; discusses 
a new edition of the Ballads, 219 ; 
the reverse side of the relations with 
Hayley, 222 4; issues the Jeru- 
salem and Milton, 226, 240; em- 
ployed by Cromek, 246 ; is deceived 
by him, ,248 55 ; befriended by 
Malkin, 256 ; takes up the gauntlet 
for Fuseli, 258 ; has a commission 
from Ozias Humphrey, 260 2 ; 
exhibits at Royal Academy, 263 ; 
executes and-^exhibits Cant. Pilgrim- 
age* 275 ; issues prospectus, 277 ; 
estranged from Stothard, 280 ; more 
commissions from Butts, 296 ; loses 
some old friends, 291 ; finds a few 
new ones, 293 ; writes, but no longer 
engraves, his poems, 294 ; delights in 
work and needs no other pleasure, 
295 ; draws the Laocoon at Royal 
Academy, 297 ; draws visionary 
heads with Varley, 300 ; opinions on 
Art, 31011, 3457, 3545; an- 
notates Reynolds's Discourses, 305-; 
and Bacon's Essays, 315 ; employed 
by Dr. Thornton to illustrate Virgil's 
Pastorals, 317 ; removes to Fountain 
Court, 321 ; his old friend Butts grows 
cool, 327 ; last commission from 
Butts, 327; receives a grant from 
Royal Academy, 328 ; and a com- 
mission for the Job from Linnell, 328 ; 
loses his old friend Fuseli, 336 ; visits 
Linnell at Hampstead and meets 
congenial friends, 337 ; sings to 
melodies of his own again, 339 ; 
manners, 350, 385 ; cheerfulness, 
352 ; indifference to money, 356 ; 
personal appearance, 358 ; visionary 
faculty, 362-5 ; religious views, 373 ; 
opinion of Wordsworth, 387 90 ; 
designs to Dante, 375 ; sells designs 

to Paradise Regained, 378 ; is intro- 
duced to Crabb Robinson, Gotzen- 
berger, Coleridge, &c., at Mr. 
Aders', 379 80 ; devotion to Art, 
383 ; discusses Jacob Boehmen and 
many religious and philosophical 
topics, 384 ; failing health, 390 ; 
more conversations with Crabb 
Robinson about Voltaire and Shak- 
speare, 3912 ; grows worse, 393 ; 
receives filial care from Linnell, 393 ; 
pays a last visit to Hampstead, still 
working on Dante, 396 ; loses 
another old friend, 397 ; talks with 
Crabb Robinson again, 397 8 ; 
finds a buyer or two, 399; still work- 
ing at Dante and obtaining a few 
commissions, 400 I ; works to the 
last and dies as happily as he has 
lived, 403 5 ; buried in Bunhill 
Fields, 407 ; methods, 413 21 ; in- 
fluence on his successors, 422 29 

Bloomfield's Farmer's Boy, 120 

Boehmen, Jacob, 370 

Bognor ; see Topographic Details 

Bolingbroke, tomb of, 41 

Bonosoni, engraver, 329 

Boucher, engraver, 13 

Boydell, Alderman, 209 

Braithwaite, friend of Romney, 203 

Bray, Mrs., Life of Stothard\*y, 290 

British Museum, 8, 23, 37, 89, 418 

Brooke, Mrs., novelist and dramatist, 


Browning, Robert, Pippa Passes, 118 
Bulwer, SirE. L., Lucretia by, 325 
Burger's Lenore, 134 
Burgoyne, dramatist, 75 
Burke, Ed., 306 

Haviland, 409 

Burney, Mus. Doc. 35 

Burns, date of first Poems, 26 7 ; 

death of, 120 
Butts, a thirty years' friend, in, 145, 

1513, 164, 1679, 1724, 178 

88, 1903, 241, 273, 327, 366 
Byron, Lord, 2 


Calvert, Edward, 343 

Campbell's Pleasures of Hope, 120 

Canova, born, 5 

Carnaby Market ; see Topographic De- 

Castle Court, 8 

Carpenter, Keeper of the British Mu- 
seum Print-room, 291 

CaVter, Mrs. 45 

Cary, translator of Dante, 90, 367, 
410 / 



Cennino Cennini, 414 
Chamberlayne, Poems by, 326 
Chambers, founder of Royal Academy, 

8 ; architect of Somerset Palace, 29 
Chantrey, buys of Blake, 121, 400 
Chapone, Mrs. 35, 45 
Cheetham's Life of Paine, 94 
Chetwynd, 214 
Chichester, History of , 218 
Chodowiecki, 91, 135 
Christie, auctioneer, 8 
Cimabue, 3 

Clennell, Luke, engraver, 284 
Coleridge, 118, 379, 380 
Ceilings, G. caricaturist, 54 
Collins, William, R.A. 351 
Copley, 57 
Cos way, 57 
Cowper, 26 ; The Task, 91 ; death of, 

143; Life of, by Hayley, 165, 1701, 

176 ; Milton, by, 187 
Cromek, 281 290 
Crabbe, 74, 120 
Cumberland, dramatist, 75 

G. of Bristol, 293, 399 

Cunningham, 23 

Allan, Lives of British 

Painters by, I, 39, 96, 99, 148 ; is 

taken up by and takes in Cromek, 

285 7 ; opinion as to Blake's sanity, 


DANCE, 57 

Darwin, Erasmus, 119 

Denman, Maria, 397 

Dereham, East, Cowper's monument 
at, 175 

DESIGNS by Blake : Accusers, The, 
304 ; America, 106 10 ; Ancient 
Britons, 276 ; Ancient of Days, 124 
5, 403 ; Angel of the Divine Pre- 
sence, 1 86 ; Bard, The, 56 7 ; 
Breach in a City, 54; Canterbury 
Pilgrims, 273 9 ; Christ in the 
Sepulchre, 269 ; Cumberland's Card 
Plate, 399 ; Dante, 375 ; Death of 
Earl Godwin, 35 ; Death of Joseph, 
1 86; Death of Virgin Mary, 1 86; 
Dream of Queen Catherine, 2, 357 
8 ; Europe, 403 : Ezekiel, 133 ; 
Faerie Queen, 409 ; Gates of Para- 
dise, 99 102 ; Glad Day, 28, 32 ; 
Grave, The, 24655, 266 72 ; 
Heads of the Poets, 162 ; Hope' Re- 
kindled, 224 ; Jacobus Dream, 264 ; 
Jb, 3, 4, 327 ; Jephthath sacrificing 
his Daughter, 186; Jerusalem, 226; 
Joseph and his Brethren, 56 7 ; 
King Edward and Queen Eleanor, 
31 ; Last Judgment, 2fo 2, 401 2 ; 
Last Supper, 140 ; Let loose the Dogs 

of War, 54 ; Lenore, 1345 ; Mar- 
riage of Heaven and Hell, 78, 86 
8 ; Milton, 240 ; Miscellaneous 
Designs, 129 ; Nebuchadnezzar, 88 ; 
Newton, 420 ; Night Thoughts, 135 ; 
Oberon and Titania, 2, 410 ; Para- 
dise Regained, 378 ; Paul Preaching, 
186; Pastorals, Phillips's Virgil, 317 
20 ; Penance of Jane Shore, 32 ; 
Portraits: Mr.Butts, 167, 180 ; Rev. 
J. Johnson, 171 : Riposo, 184, 186 ; 
Ruth, 1 86 ; Shakspeare, 272 ; Songs 
of Innocence, 68 75 ; Songs of 
Experience, n6, 121 2 ; Song of 
Los, 129; Three Maries, 1 86 ; 
Urizen, 127 ; Visionary Heads, 298 ; 
Visions of the Daughters of Albion, 
102 6; What is man that Thou 
should 'st try him every moment ? 133 ; 
Whore of Babylon, 291 ; Wise and 
Foolish Virgins, 401 ; Wollstone- 
craft's Tales for Children, illustra- 
tions to, 91 
Dodsley, publisher, 33 
Du Roveray, edit, of Pope, 247 

Edinburgh Review, I 
Edwards's Anecdotes of Painters, 29 
Edward I. tomb of, opened, 19 
Edwards, publisher of Young's Night 

Thoughts, 135 
Egremont, Lord, 161, 409 
Ellis's Specimens of English Poetry, 120 
Etty, born, 60 ; home of, 99 
Engleheart, engraver, 288 
Engravings by Blake ; see lists, pp. 279 

283, vol. ii. 
Europe, 1245 

FAIRY'S funeral, 160 i 

Falconer, poet, 209 

Ferguson, James, artist, 410 

Felpham ; see Topographic Details 

Pettier, engraver, 209 

Finch, F. O. painter in water-colours, 
343 ; also see vol. ii. 

Fincham, Dr. 394 5 

Flaxman, opinion of Blake by, 2 ; 
born, 5 ; introduced to Blake, 33 ; 
a Swedenborgian, 16 : genius dis- 
covered by Mrs. Mathew, 44, 47 ; 
designs for Wedgwood, 33 ; marries, 
33 ;,' exhibits at Royal Academy, 
57 j g es to Italy, 60 ; returns from 
Italy and becomes famous, ill : 
designs a colossal statue, 141 ; illus- 
trates Cowper's Translations and 
Notes on Milton, 166; decorates 
Hay ley's library, 162; illustrates 
Homer, 206 ; Hesiod, 296 ; staunch 


to Blake, 295, 297 ; manners, 351, 
death, 397 
Flaxman, Mrs. 397 
Forster, Rev. .410 
Fountain Court; see Topographic Details 
Franklin, Dr., on air-baths, 114 
Fresco, Blake's use of the word, 37 
Fuseli, opinion of Blake by, 2, 52 ; in- 
troduced to Blake, 34 ; returns from 
Italy, made famous by The Night- 
mare, 34 ; candour, 52 ; exhibits, 
57 : at book.-eller Johnson's, 92 ; 
writes Prospectus of Designs to 
Young, 135; to The Grave, 247, 267 
8 ; staunch, 2957 ; dies, 335 

Hesketh, Lady, 205 

Hoare, Prince, 204 5, 207 

Hogarth, 8 9 ; commends Basire, 14 ; 

house of, 43 

Hogg's, Jefferson, Life of She iky, 113 
Holcroft,~T. 75, 92, 198, 266 
Holmes, -water-colour painter, 296 
Hoist, Theodore Von, 424 5 ; see also 

Art Union 

Hoppner, descriptive letter by, 251 
Houghton, Lord, Blake's works owned 

by, 88 
Humphrey, Ozias, 260 I, 263 ; death 

of, 291 
Hunt, Leigh, 2301, 3645 

GAINSBOROUGH, death of, 61 
Gardnor, Rev. J. Vicar of Battersea, 

41, 56 

Garvey, 57 

Gates of Paradise ; see Designs by Blake 

Gay, 24 

George III. 263 

Ghost of a flea, 303 

Gifford, 119 

Giotto, 3, 274, 335 

Godwin at bookseller Johnson s, 92 3 ; 

St. Leon, 119 
Goldsmith, 15, 24 
Gotzenberger, painter, 380 
Gravelot, 21 
Gray, 24 

Green, friend of Romney, 211 
Grinling Gibbons, font by, 5 
Grignon, engraver, 51 

HAINES, W. painter and engraver, 214 
Hamilton, painter, 57 
Hampstead ; see Topographic Details 
Hardy, tried for high treason, 91 
Hayley, William, 75 ; literary status, 
142 ; invites Blake to Felpham, 142 
3; character, 156 7; writes the 
Ballads, 165 ; and Life of Cowper, 
176 ; letters to Johnson, 167 9, 
174 5 ; epitaph writing, 170 ; 
zealously aids Blake on his trial for 
sedition, 193 ; thrown from his horse, 
196 ; begins Life of Romney, 203 ; 
Blake aiding, 203 24; marries 
again, 274 

Hayley, Thomas, 142 3, 204 
Harrison, publisher, employs Blake, 

32, 53 
Hazlitt, 369 
Hawkins, 215 

Heath, James, engraver, 289 
Heins, portrait of Cowper's mother by, 


INCHBALD, Mrs. 75, 119 
Incorporated Society of Artists, 8 

JAGO, 75 

Jebb, Bishop, 409 

Jeffrey, Lord, 284 

Jerusalem, 226 40 

Job, Inventions to ; see Designs by 

Johnson, bookseller, a constant em- 
ployer, 32, 89, 923, 99 ; death of, 

Johnson, Dr. 45 

Johnson, Rev. G. (Cowper's cousin) 
165 168, 171 

Jonson, Ben, 24 

KAUFFMAN, Angelica, R. A. abode of, 

34, 46 
Keats, 118 

Kilmarnock, Lord, 44 
Kirkup, Seymour, painter, 275, 277, 

371, 410 
Klopstock, death of, 183 

Ladies' Pocket Book for 1778, frontis- 
piece to, 46 

Lamb, Charles, 74, 275 6 

Langford, auctioneer, 8 10 

Langhorne, 23 

Lawrence, Sir Thomas, buys of Blake, 
121, 401 

Lavater, John Caspar, character of, 61 ; 
annotations of the Aphorisms, 6 1 7 

Lavant ; see Topographic Details 

Lee, the sisters, 119 

Legal, engraver, 161 

Leslie, R. A. on Blake, I 

Letters from Blake to Butts, 151 3, 



164, 1679, I7 2 4, 178 83, 184 
8, 190 3 ; from Blake to Flaxman, 
149 50 ; from Blake to Hayley, 144, 
163 4, 194 5, 199 200, 201 16, 
" 218 23 ; from Blake to Mrs. Linnell, 
337; from Blake to John Linnell, 
3789, 3901, 392-6, 398400, 
403 ; from Blake to Ozias Humphrey, 
260 2 ; from Blake to the Editor of 
the Monthly Magazine, 258 9 ; from 
Blake to Mrs. Flaxman, 147 ; from 
Cromek to Blake, 252 4 ; from 
Samuel Palmer to the author, 344 

Lewis, Monk, 119 
Linnell, James, 395 
John, senior, introduced to 

Blake, 293 ; copies Visionary Heads, 

304 ; reminiscences of Blake by, 370 ; 

commissions the Job series, 328 ; 

also the Dante, 375 ; makes a 

friendly proposal, 398, 409 ; explains 

Blake's processes, 413 
Linnell, William, 395 
Literary Gazette, notice of Blake's 

death, 408 
Lloyd, poet, 23 
London Quarterly Review, article on 

Blake, 54 5 ; see also vol. ii. 
Loutherbourg, 35, 57 
Lovat, Lord, 44 

MACKLIN employs Blake, 33, 51 
Macpherson's Ossian, 256 
Magazine, The Gentleman's, notice of 

Blake's death, 408 
Magazine, The Ladies', 32 
Magazine, The Novelists', 32 3 
Magazine, The Monthly, 206 
Magazine, The Wifs, 53 4 
Malkin, Dr. Father's Memoirs of his 

Childly, 9, 10, 17, 24, 117, 256 
Manchester Art Treasures Exhibition, 2 
Marriage of Heaven and Hell, 78 88 
Mason, 23, 75, 1567 
Mathew, Rev. H. and Mrs. first patrons 

of Blake and Flaxman, 43 50, 56 
Memling, 380 
Middleton, Conyers, 45 
Miller, publisher, 134 
Milton, 24; Life of , by Hayley, 142 
Miranda, General, 112 
Minerva Press, 119 
Monmouthshire, History of, 42 
Montagu, Mrs. 45 
Montgomery, James, 74 
Moore, Zehtco, 119 
Mora, Jose Janquin de, 271 
More, Hannah, and her works, 46 
Morland, 57 
Mortimer, Blake's opinion of, 31 

Moser, Mary, R.A. 29, 57 

Moser, keeper of Royal Academy, 8, 

28, 30 
Mulready, 272, 340 

NEWINGTON BUTTS ; see Topographic 

Nollekens, 57 

OBERON and Titania ; see Designs by 


Opie, Mrs. 119 

Oram, Loutherbourg's Assistant, 45 
Orcagna, 333 
Ottley, keeper of British Museum 

Print-room, History of Engraving 

by, 400 

PAINE, Tom, 93 5 
Palmer, Samuel, painter in water- 
colours, 87, 96 ; letter by, 344 7 ; 

see also vol. ii. In memoriam, F. O. 


Parker, James, engraver, 56 60 
Pars' life-^school, 89 
Pars, William, portrait painter, 9 
Parnell, 24 
Passavant's Tour of a German Artist, 


Percy's Reliques, 24 
Phillips, Sir Richard, 206 
Phillips, R.A. portrait of Blake by, 

265 ; see also Frontispiece, vol. ii. 
Piozzi, Madame, and the Delia Cruscans, 


Pippa Passes, 118 

Piroli engraves Flaxman's designs, 1 1 1 
Poole, Mrs. of Layant, 161, 1978 
Porter, Rev. Ker, design to Merry 

Wives of Windsor by, 272 
Price, Dr. 92 
Priestley, Dr. 92 
Procter, 323 4 


RADCLIFFE, Mrs. 119 

Raeburn, portraits by, 288 

Raffaelle, 3, 10, 3078, 313 

Ravenet, engraver, 13 

Rembrandt, 335 

Revolution, French ; see List of Blake's 

Writings, vol. ii. p. 284 
Revolution, The French, 94 5 
Reynolds, Sir Joshua, exhibiting at 

Royal Academy, 35 ; house in 

Leicester Fields, 43 ; exhibiting, 57 ; 

interview with Blake, 95 ; Discourses 



annotated by Blake, 315 ; another 

interview, 314 
Richmond, Duke of, 195 7 
Richmond, G. portrait-painter, 342, 407 
Richter, painter in water-colour, 296, 340 

Jean Paul, death of, 408 

Ridolfi, 251 

Rigaud, 57 

Riots, Lord George Gordon, 35 6 

Ritson's Collection of English Songs, 

51, 120 
Robinson, Henry Crabb, 274 5, 381 

93, 3978 

Robinson, Mrs. (Perdita) 119 
Rogers, Samuel, makes his reputation, 


Rornney, G, designs by, 162 ; death of, 
178; Hecate, 205; early works by, 
209 ; Lear and Cordelia, 211 ; in 
Italy, 213 ; Life of by Hayley, 213, 


Rose, Samuel, 193, 198, 219 
Roscius (Master Betty), 221 
Rossetti, W. M. 429 
Ruskin, John, on Cimabue and Giotto, 

3 ; designs by Blake, owned by, 55 ; 

on the Job, 335 
Russell, 57 
Ryland, engraver, Blake's prophecy 

concerning, 13 ; fulfilled, 48 
Sandby, Paul, exhibits, 35 
Schiavonetti, Louis, 248, 265, 274 

Niccolo, 289 

Scholfield, 192, 228 30 
Scott, David, 422 3 

W. B. 429 

Sir Walter, 2, 5, 284, 287 

Seagrave, printer, 163 

Seward, Anna, 119 

Selwyn, 36 

Serres, 57 

Sepulchral monuments, 20 

Shakspere, 24 ; designs to, 272 

Shelley, 118 

Shenstone, 23 

Sheridan, Mrs. 46 

Shields, Frederick J. 136 

Shipley, William, founder of Society 

of Arts, 9 
Sibylline leaves ; see Blake's Writings, 

vol. ii. p. 284 
Smetham, J. 55, 428 9 ; see also 

vol. ii. Essay by 
Smith, John Thomas, 45, 47, 49, 50, 

124, 367, 401, 405, 409 
Smith, Mrs. Charlotte, 75, 119 
Songs of Innocence and Experience, 

6875, n6 123; Song of Los, 129 
Southey, 25 ; the Doctor, 276 
Spectator, plates to, by Cromek, 247 
Spilsbury, painter, 214 
Stothard, born, 5 ; where, 60 ; designs 

for Novelists' Magazine, 53 ; intro- 
duced to Blake, 33 : engravings after, 
in British Museum, 37 ; book illus- 
trations by, 51 2; exhibits at 
Royal Academy, 57 ; design s for Night 
Thoughts, 140; Canterbury Pilgrim- 
age by, 2502, 274281, 28890 

St. George's Fields; see Topographic 

Strange, engraver, 14 ; Blake's opinion 
of, 21 

Swedenborg, Emanuel, comes to Lon- 
don, 15, 16; Blake's estimate of, 85 

Swinburne, Algernon Charles, Critical 
Essays by, 78, 428 ; on Blake's 
Ancient Britons, 277 ; anecdote of 
Mrs. Blake by, 410 

TALFOURD, Final Memorials of Lamb 

by, 325 

Tatham, architect, 342, 399 

Frederick, sculptor, 342, 409 


Taylor, Isaac, designs to the Bible by, 

Thel, 76 

Thelwall, 92 

Thomas, a Blake buyer, 121 

Thomson, 24 

Thornton, Dr., School Virgil by, 317, 

Thornton, Bonnell, 317 

Tomkins, 57 

To mpk ins, Thomas, Beauties of English 
Poetry by, 23 

TOPOGRAPHIC Details: JBasire's house, 
Great Queen Street, 22; Battersea, 38, 
42 ; Blake's birthplace, Broad Street, 
5, 6, 34, 56 ; Bognor and its neigh- 
bourhood, 157 60: Bunhill Fields, 
Blake's burial place, 59, 407 8; 
Carnaby Market, 5 ; Dulwich, 7 ; 
Etty's home, Stangate Walk, 99 ; 
Felpham, 156 8; Fitzroy Square, 
112; Flaxman's house, Wardour 
Street, a neighbourhood of celebrities, 
34 5 ; Fountain Court, 32 ; Green 
Street, Leicester Fields, 43; Her- 
cules Buildings, 98 ; Hampstead, 
338 ; Lavant, 198 ; Newington Butts, 
6 ; Rathbone Place, 44 ; Somerset 
House, 29 ; South Molton Street, 
201 ; St. George's Fields, 6; Stot- 
hard's birthplace, Long Acre, 60 ; 
Turner's birthplace, Maiden Lane, 
60 ; Westminster Abbey, 18, 19 ; 
Westminster Bridge, 6 

Truchsessian Gallery, 216 18 

UPCOTT, 260 
Urizen, 127 



VARLEY, Cornelius, 340, 360 

Varley, John, 34 5; introduced to 

Blake, 296 ; described, 2989 ; 340 


Van Eyck, 379 
Vesey, Mrs. 45 
Visions of the Daughters of Albion, 

Vivares, engraver, 14 

WAIN WRIGHT, T. G., life and character 

of, 3226 

Wakefield, Gilbert, 92 
Ward, James, R.A. 366, 368 
Washington, Life of, by Hayley, 212 
Wartons, the, 23 
Water-colour, Society of Painters in, 

Watson, Caroline, engraves for Hajley, 

213, 221 
Wedgwood, 33 
Wells, C. J. Joseph and his Brethren 

by, 4267 
Wesley, 242 
Whitfield, 242 
Whitehead, 23 
Wilkes and Liberty Riots, 6 
Wilkie, Sir David, 114 

Wilkinson, Dr. J. Garth, editor of 
Swedenborg, 120 ; poems by, 427 

Williams, Pasquin, 75 

Williams' s History of Monmouthshire, 

Wolcot, Dr. 74, 119 

Wollstonecraft, Mary, 89, 91 

Woollett, 14 ; Blake's opinion of, 20 

Wordsworth's opinion of Blake, I ; 
poems compared to Blake's, 27, 74 
5, 102, 118, 120; Blake's opinion 
of, 38690 

Writings by Blake ; see List, vol. ii. 
283 4 ; also Annotations of Lavater's 
Aphorisms, 6 1 7 ; of Reynolds' s Dis- 
courses, 96 7 ; 305 14 ; of Bacon's 
Essays, 315 16; of Wordsworth, 
388 9 ; Epigrams on Hayley, 222 
4 ; on Cromek, 254 5 ; also see 

YOUNG'S Night Thoughts, 13540 ; see 
vol.ii., 289, Notes on Designs to Young 

Zodiacal Physiognomy by John Varley, 

3 02 3 
Zoffany exhibits, 35 

Bonbon : 






Gilchrist, Alexander 
4146 Life of William Blake 
G55 New and enl. ed.